January 13, 2018 – My jumbled thoughts on a difficult day

The Super Sam Foundation family is hurting today. This morning we said our final earthly goodbyes to sweet Gabriel. Five-year-olds should not have funerals. But sometimes they do. So we showed up. We stood together. We cried together. We let Jeremy and Erica know we are in this with them. Together.  As awful as grief is, it’s also a result of love. Grieving for someone means you loved them. And there is so much beauty in our grief. There is so much compassion in our grief. And Jesus is right there with us. Crying with us and walking beside us on our journey.

As Gabriel was memorialized by his pastor and his parents, we enjoyed hearing stories of his squeals of delight and how he was always happy. He and Sam shared many positive traits. Gabriel and Sam both had smiles that melted hearts. They both had charm in abundance. And they both could bring a community together. What sweeter sign could there be than driving away and seeing the Super Sam sticker on the back of the escort police cars? As the officers continue to serve, the community continues to remember and honor Sam just as we now will do for Gabriel. And we know they are together in heaven.

Together is the only place to be in times like these. We were physically together at the funeral. We are spiritually together always. Even as we now allow time for Jeremy and Erica to grieve privately, we are holding them in prayer and sending all our love and strength their way.  

Sam went to heaven a few months before Gabriel was diagnosed. Gabriel never knew Sam here on earth but he had a great companion in dear Ava. I can’t think of a better tribute to these two incredible families than knowing Gabriel was loved by Ava on earth and by Sam in heaven. And Sam and Ava are both loved by Gabriel. These families are broken. They will not be healed until they are reunited in heaven. But they carry on. They keep Sam and Gabriel close. They carry their legacy forward. A legacy of smiles, laughter, love for others, selflessness, joy, and faith. Amazing faith! To Erica, Jeremy, Cassie, Matt, Ava, and their families…we love you and we are with you. Let’s continue this valiant fight together.


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