Hi Family & Friends of Nate! This is Aunt Jenni. Both my sister and I came in from Seattle to spend the weekend with Nate. I know all of you have been asking how he is doing — and I can update that he has made significant progress daily since his very dire situation of last Thursday. It truly is a miracle! He is down to only one tube connected to his body (prior his body was being kept alive by several tubes — and today it’s just one) — giving him added nutrition — and that most likely will be removed tomorrow. We all anticipate that he will leave the hospital earlier than projected — especially if Aunties keep feeding him Chick-fil-A sandwiches & Iceberg Cheeseburgers. (Hospital food doesn’t always “hit the spot.”
I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be with Nate for the last 36 hours. Only a week ago, we didn’t even know if we would see him again, so every minute I have with my nephew brings me newfound gratitude and perspective. I’ve always known that my nephew Nate is someone quite special, but I still am in awe as I listen to Nate talk about the challenges he just faced, with gratitude, and his faith having never wavered even while he hugged his wife & children before his surgery — not knowing if he would see them again. Then to hear him talk positively of the challenges still to come and with a “life as usual” attitude — the depth of his character really has no bounds.
He had a few visitors today from his ward & stake, and I was able to listen to his church family share all of their own personal experiences as they have kept Nate in their daily thoughts & prayers. They all shared the impressions that have come to them as they naturally try to make sense of it all. These reflections made me think back on my own experience last week, as I joined my family (and many of you) in fasting & prayer for Nate’s health. I will always remember that as soon as I said Nate’s name, I had a feeling that came over me like an wave, and I knew that I was one of many that were saying his name at the exact same time — and praying that all would be well. I don’t always feel with such surety that prayers are heard, but I knew these prayers were heard.
Nate told me today that he had peace & comfort going into his surgery last Thursday. He didn’t know if he would live or die, but he knew without doubt that everything was going to be well. One of the counselors in Nate’s stake presidency, President Tyson Welling, shared today that while giving Nate a priesthood blessing prior to his surgery, he felt very strongly that the Lord wanted Nate to know that He knows him personally, that he is loved and that his days would not be numbered less. He referenced the revelation given to Joseph Smith in Carthage Jail. It has been a while since I have read that scripture in the Doctrine & Covenants — so I read it again tonight — and for all you reading, it’s copied here:
Doctrine & Covenants 122:9
Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.
Hello Dear Friends and Family,
Like my sister, Jenni, I would like to thank everyone for the faith, prayers and support offered up in behalf or our sweet nephew, Nate. We can’t even begin to describe the depths of our sorrow from a short 10 days ago, nor can we describe the exquisite joy that followed the sorrow as we watched miracles happen right before our very eyes. I know that God lives!
Also like my sister, I have felt it an absolute privilege to spend one-on-one time with Nate. Our conversations were tender as we discussed the events and feelings of the past week, cried together, and rejoiced together. I believe moments like this are what it means to ‘stand on holy ground’.
One of the beautiful lessons Nate has taught me is how to have peace through the greatest of challenges. When we first learned of Nate’s cancer, we were absolutely devastated. We still are heartbroken that the challenges ahead for him may be great, but we are at peace. We know the Lord can sustain him. The words of the hymn, “It is Well With my Soul” reflect beautifully the resolution we have to embrace what may come our way, here are the opening lines
When peace like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, “It is well, it is well with my soul.” Listen Here to this hymn.
I am so proud of my nephew. I can’t imagine a better human being. And though I didn’t think it possible to love him any more, I find myself loving him in new ways as I watch his courage to carry on through this refiner’s fire.
Now, lest you worry that we are getting too serious here, please know that we are also laughing and smiling — and that these aunties are doing what we do best – fattening him up with contraband cheeseburgers and milkshakes.