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God's Love - in memory of Nate

Today marks 1 year since my sweet nephew passed away. Nate was born with a rare chromosomal disorder and had many special needs. He was not expected to live past birth but he did, and lived for 10 years. He was a miracle. Nate never walked, or talked, he had a feeding tube and oxygen. Some might have only seen what he couldn't do, but those that knew him, knew his cute chuckle, giggle and special growl. Everyone that came in contact with him was touched by his special spirit, his family, friends, every teacher, aid and therapists came away influenced by him. 

Last year Nate was in and out of the hospital many times, his sweet body was breaking down. A week before he passed my brother called me and let me know his time was coming soon to a close. My brother asked me to come out to Kansas, where they live, to help with their other children before Nate passed away. My sister and another brother booked our tickets the next day, and flew to Kansas. I don't know how to put into words what this experience did for me. I have thought about that last week of Nate's life quite often. Nate was able to come home from the hospital and pass away with his loved ones around him. To see my sister-in-law hold her sweet son day after day, never taking a break, enjoying every last minute with her son is something I will never forget. It was a powerful sight of a mother's love. And it was in his mother's arms that Nate took his last breath and left this life. 

I have been thinking a lot about Nate these past few weeks. How his life touched us all. Nate never accomplished any great worldly achievement. He never scored a goal, never sang in a recital, never aced a test. And yet he was so very loved. He changed everyone around him without ever saying a word. 

I read this beautiful quote a few weeks ago and it stopped me in my tracks. 

"Your Heavenly Father loves you- each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God's love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there." - Thomas S. Monson. 

I thought of my 3 sweet children. Do they know how much I love them? Do they know that even though their father and I push them to always try their hardest, to not give up when things are hard, and to reach for hard goals - do they still know that our love for them has nothing to do with that. That at the end of the day, they don't have to do a single thing and we still absolutely love them. 

And the love of a parent doesn't compare to God's love. His love truly is always there for us. 

It brought me back to Nate. Nate didn't have to do a single thing to be worthy of his family's love and especially his Father in Heaven's love. He simply lived and by doing so brought so much love to us all. 

I hope we are gentle with ourselves and know that whether or not we feel we deserve God's love, it is simply always there. 

We miss you Nate. Thank you for changing our hearts, we love you.

Here is a drawing I did of Nate surrounded by children with this beautiful quote.