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This post is way too long in coming; but, it’s been something that’s been in my head and in my heart for quite awhile now.

We are finally getting back to some semblance of a routine. Dave went back to work last Thursday, and he is really starting to look and feel more like himself. It’s been amazing to think that he went into the hospital before Christmas at least feeling fine, only to go through such a nightmare after the surgery.

Before that first surgery, my friend, Jennifer (you may know her as @LittleYawps) decided to do “something.”

Jen was raised Catholic, and in the Catholic faith, there is a tradition when a child is born. The congregation holds its hands out as if over the head of that baby and the priest says a prayer. She thought that it might be helpful to do something similar for Dave and our family.

She reached out to friends of ours through Twitter and Facebook. She enlisted the help of my friend, Lesley, who contacted my mom. The word went out across the country and around the world.

Each person was to trace their hand onto a piece of paper, cardboard or whatever struck their fancy. They were to decorate the hands and then put them in the mail to us.

My mother got our kids involved, and though it was weird that our kids paid so much attention to the mail delivery all of the sudden, I just chalked it up to the fact that Isabel is always ordering another hoodie, or that Ben’s always buying another phone case. They hid the envelopes that started arriving, never letting on that anything was going on.

The Sunday before surgery, we went over to my parents’ house for dinner. Mom pulled out stacks of envelopes. First, she had us read a copy of Jennifer’s original email that had come through Lesley. That was enough to make me sniffle.

Next, we started opening envelopes.

You can’t imagine how touching it was…to see all of these lovely hands, decorated with crayons, markers, glitter, beads, stickers…you name it. All of them had messages of love and well wishes for Dave and for our family.

It took quite a while for me to stop crying. I just kept looking at them, and thinking about the time that everyone put into them.

Over the next several days, more and more hands came. It was like wave after wave of well wishes.

The hands came from all over the U.S., and from around the world. There was one that came anonymously, and the postmark is smudged, so I’m not sure who it’s from. All I know is that someone took the time to trace their delicate hand and cover it with love.

There are so many hands. All I can say is, “Good job, Team!” All of that love and all of those good wishes and prayers worked. Dave’s surgeon is confident that they got everything and that Dave is essentially cancer-free. I am grateful for every single fleck of glitter, every sticker, every tiny little Brownie hand, every single beautiful drawing and every hand.

To Jennifer, who started this shower of love, I just have to say…you have a friend for life, my dear. Not only did the hands work for Dave, they comforted me and got me through some very dark moments. I carried them with me the whole time I was going back and forth to the hospital. At night, I’d spread them out here on the bed and look at them and cry with gratitude. I’d pull them out at the hospital and Dave and I would look at them together.

To those that still have a tendency to belittle the friendships that you can make with people through social media, people who you may never get to meet “in real life,” I have only this to say: You are cheating yourself out of knowing some truly incredible people. Distance is merely an inconvenience and does not affect the friendships that I have made.

What lucky, lucky people Dave and I are. Thank you…from the bottoms of our hearts.