How can anyone think that this is all there is? As I drove past the funeral home this afternoon, I remembered that day, 5 months ago. I remembered my thoughts on that dreadful day. I was so afraid as I went up the steps to the front door, afraid I was not going to make it inside. My legs were shaking. I didn’t know what to expect. I had gone there to pick you up. This time, it wasn’t like so many times before when I picked you up at school or at grandma’s house. Those times, I was full of joy at the thought of seeing your ever-smiling, pretty face. Those times, in spite of the exhaustion from a long day’s work, I knew what awaited me…you. Your bright eyes beaming with joy because your mommy was picking you up. Your delicate hands that would tenderly touch my face as you said how much you missed me.
This time, I knew nothing. I didn’t even know if I would make it inside. And if I did, how would I make it out? I was exhausted. Not physically exhausted like all those times I picked you up before. This time I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. This time, I felt depleted…wasted…and very much afraid. After making it inside, my fear suddenly turned into shock. A small white box with a label across the top sat on a desk. “Gabriella Morales” the tag read. You were in that box and the name tag proved it.
I remember the many times I had seen you wearing a name tag over the past year and a half. I actually remember the very first time you wore a name tag. You were almost two years old and had stayed in children’s ministry for the first time. I remember you walking down the steps towards me after service. I was caught by surprise and thought to myself, amused and somewhat in wonder, “This little person needs a name tag”. It was often a thought when I saw you wearing a name tag after that. It would hit me that, as tiny as you were, you had an identity.
You had an identity and personality that your little body could barely contain. The things you said and did…the joy and love you exuded. As much as I felt you were part of me, I saw that you were your own person. And oh! What a person! There was so much life! There was so much joy! There was so much love! More than your little body could contain. And everywhere you went, that love and joy and life, overflowed. It overflowed into the lives of those lucky enough to have known you.
And now, as I sit here thinking about all that you were, I wonder, “how can anyone think that this is it?” This is all such a mystery! Life, death, eternity…it’s beyond my understanding. I get that. But the answer to that riddle cannot possibly be: there is nothing more. Because even in your life, I felt you were greater than your physical body. How could now, everything you were be reduced to nothing. If your physical and living body seemed to barely contain you: the wonder, joy, love, and life…the essence of who you were, how can that little white box do so? The truth is that it couldn’t. It was not possible. And knowing you proved it.