Over time, the Steve blog connected us with strangers. Friends of friends. Some other families affected by cancer or other serious illnesses. One woman found the blog because her own children are named Cooper and Kate (and we're now "virtual" friends who would totally spend real time together if we weren't separated by a few states).
Every one of those readers represented more prayers, more good wishes for Steve. I often told Steve that I wanted to encircle him with bubble wrap to protect him. Physically, that was impossible, of course. But every new blog reader became an extra emotional bubble.
Just before Steve died, a woman named Daria commented on the blog. I started following her blog and learned that she was battling metastasized breast cancer. She blogged every single day, with updates on her condition, how she was coping, how she was feeling. She was never maudlin or dramatic; she was matter of fact and honest.
Though she lives far away -- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada -- I feel connected. I've joined an international team of folks who have rooted for her and thanked her for sharing her journey. I've prayed for her for more than a year.
Early this morning, Daria died. Her husband Don writes, "I was by her side and was able to kiss her goodbye several times during the night and then watched her slip away quietly in her sleep."
I am thankful for technology that connects us, that widens a community to include strangers who become virtual friends and who remind us that every day is a gift.