To the Friend I Lost too Soon Due to Gun Violence
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To the Friend I Lost too Soon Due to Gun Violence

The Life You Didn’t Get to Finish That We Will Always Honor.

To the Friend I Lost too Soon Due to Gun Violence

It was June 18. A fairly quiet Monday, stressful to say the least as I was juggling to courseload of summer classes and uptight about one of my classes. I can remember getting ready for a night class I was soon to drop. I was frustrated and all of a sudden I kept getting alerts on my phone nonstop. Some from friends, others from various news outlets. Everyone kept saying “Rest in peace". I immediately turned on the news. “3 dead, 1 critically injured" they said over and over again. I went to class.

As I'm sitting in class my phone started buzzing like crazy. “Did you hear", “Check Facebook now!", “This can't be real!", “Rest in peace.". I finally received word that my friend from junior high, someone I had sadly lost contact with over the years had been murdered and his son was fighting for his life. Now this hadn't been the first homicide in this town, or even the first one of the summer, but by far this one hurt the most for me.

22 years old. Two children. A life left to live. A passion for life. A good spirited person. Someone who always welcomed others no matter what.

You see, I may not have been as close to Nate as others, but to me it still hurts just the same. Someone you saw on a daily basis walking the halls of your school back in junior high, watching him play his heart out for football, and seeing his smile light up where his large dimples would extend. His always welcoming nature no matter where he went. It hit me hard.

You see I have always been one that would do anything for anyone, but in this situation I felt particularly helpless. Numb. Confused. Hurt. Devestated. Angry. Those are just a few words to describe the swarming emotions that would soon take over me. I would have done everything to take my friend's place, or any of the others that day. Now you see, I don't wish death on anyone,but Nate, Nate had so much to live for, I would have easily taken a bullet for him.

That huge smile. The way he loved. The way he laughed. The way he took pride in his children, and the way that he protected and cherished his family and friends, even those who didn't spend a lot of time with him. You see he was one that truly, seemingly, got along with everyone. Now I'm sure there were a few people he disagreed with but hatred was not something that consumed him.

He gave his life to Christ.

At his funeral I could barely force myself to make it through that line to pay my respects to his family. My dad and his father were friends, my dad accompanied me, but I could barely move. I spoke words but it felt as if words had been stripped from my mouth as I shook and tried to hold myself together. The fact was I was breaking. Maybe it's just my nature, to make myself out to be the strong one, even when I'm truly not, so I don't have to burden anyone else. I walked up to the casket. A scene that was so painful to have to endure, witness, and feel. Here laid someone who adored his kids, who had so much left to give, he had so many plans for his future, and had so many mentors, family, friends, and a community who loved him. I could only glance for a short moment before I felt sick to my stomach. Then “I Can Only Imagine", a famous song by MercyMe played as we sat quietly remembering the life that Nate lived, and the legacy that he was leaving behind, as I wept tears from my eyes and tried to force myself to breathe as I was overtaken by emotion that was uncontrollable. It wasn't supposed to be like this. I had to bury yet another friend. But this was much different than any of my other friend's sudden deaths. This was by far the hardest experience and the hardest service I had ever attended.


You see I never can understand why people have to leave this earth so suddenly. I don't understand why bad things happen to good people. I don't understand why lives get cut short. But I certainly don't understand why someone could just take someone away so maliciously without thought or consideration. I never understand why they'd be willing to leave two children fatherless, & 3 other families grieving alongside all of us.

It's not my battle, it's God's

Though I've experienced so many emotions in the last few weeks, especially as the name of the suspect has been released, I know that despite all my anger, all my hurt, all my brokeness, all my heartache, all my hostility, all my bitterness, and all my joy that's been stripped away so suddenly, that it is not my battle to try to win. I know that justice will come. I know that my God is mighty to save and that he will make a way. I know I will see Nate again one sweet day.

Going forward, let us remeber that these situations can happen to anyone, but that there's a deeper hurt and pain when it hits us directly, but those left behind are responsible for demanding change. Let us be those that are not driven by racial divides, but only by love. That we don't discriminate against others, but instead embrace them wherever they are. Let us be the hands and feet of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us not let hate win. We are what is left behind. We will be the change. Our hearts are heavy and we will all grieve at our own pace. Let us remember today and always that Nate gave his life to Christ, and for that we can be grateful, knowing where he is now and who held him in those final moments.

“I choose love, hate is much to great of a burden to bear."-Martin Luther King

~Put The Guns Down!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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