It’s an annual gathering.

The ceremonial lobby of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins overflows with memories and tears and caregivers from all walks of life.

We come to remember a loved one lost to cancer.

Most have suffered their loss in the past year, but others come year after year because it brings them closer to peace of mind.  I say that, because so many of those who attend tell me they are still struggling with words left unsaid, or hugs that weren’t given or a feeling of “If I’d just done this instead of that, they’d still be here.”

All of us wish we could have given THEM just one more day.

So we gather together as one, in thought and in prayer to whom ever we pray too and we remember.  We have permission to go back in time and remember the smiles, the laughter, the healthy years when cancer was not a part of our lives.  We try not to remember all the days when that lobby was a place we walked into and out of on the way to treatment or to see a doctor.

We gather as one, as we stand and call out the names of our loved ones.  It becomes so personal, so painful,  to hear our own voices sharing our loss.

The “Service of Remembrance” achieves it’s purpose in words and song and meaning.

But most of all, we remember THEM.

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