12 October 2011

Nate Dent

In the two years since Nate has gone, I've gone through three jobs, moved twice, got engaged....things are different. October is also different. Without even trying...Nate comes around without any effort. Without even thinking about Nate....I started trying a pompadour hairstyle. Then I look in the mirror all combed up and remember how Nate would wear his hair like that. Today at work, listening to my iPod I heard Rancid's version of "If the Kids Are United." It was only released on Give 'Em The Boot II and I remember Nate had already figured out the opening bass riff and was playing it when I went to see him. "It's not that hard," he said "Matt Freeman isn't really that great of a bass player. He just uses blues riffs." Kinda cocky. Kinda brilliant. Totally Nate. Love it!

I say love it because Nate is still very real for me in a lot of ways. I remember when Robert set up this blog and I had told him about the idea I had. It was to collect memories. I had so few memories of Nate that I started hunting for more. Writing them down. Asking other people who knew him for ANYTHING they could remember. And then I hit a road block. I ran out of memories. I was truly horrified and racing through my own brain trying to get Nate back in another way. I told a friend who had never met Nate about running out of memories. I was sobbing and his words were the wrong ones. Even if they were the right ones I doubt they would have consoled me. I mean....you can't remember anything else about your friend who is gone forever and you won't have a chance to make anymore memories of him? There aren't good words or right words. There are barely right things to do.

Today was oddly consoling because I'd forgotten about Nate playing that Rancid bassline. Two years later and I found a new memory.

I was listening to a Columbia University professor of physics talk about how we alter time through movement. How just by walking to the bus stop you are altering the very fabric of space. It's amazing. Robert and I usually talk or text around this time of year too. Robert mentioned how Nate had dented October. I think this might be literally true. If a person walking to a bus stop can alter space, then a person's total absence....especially someone as big as Nate (not just physically...but....physically too I guess) would absolutely dent space and time. However, this dent....it's not empty for me. Not completely anyway. The odd occurrences. Nate resurfacing in my memory with no effort on my part.....that sure is something magical. I walk around with small parts of him. Anyone who knows him did. Odd flits here and there. A thought. A look. A word. All the good things Nate was....he still is through people who knew him. It can't ever compare to him being alive and with us. It's still a good thing though. Am I calling it Heaven? Immortality? I dunno about all that stuff, but I know a good thing when I see it. A Nate dent? A dent left in the universe that was unique in all the ways Nate was unique? I think it's real.....and I'm glad it's here. I'd rather have Nate, but I'm grateful he left a dent for us.

Two Years

Two years ago today was Nate's funeral.  It was absolutely one of the most difficult, awful things in my life I've ever had to go through. He was so young, so good, so strong.  He was a solid constant in all of our lives, and his loss is still a profound shock.  I feel like I lost a brother, someone who I had planned on sharing more time with, more future with.   I think of him every day, and wish I could share with him everything that's happened since he left.  I wish he could tell me all the things he's been up to, the adventures he's had in the past two years.   He was such an impressive person, there's no doubt that he'd have done amazing things.

After the wake and the funeral two years ago, I had a hard time leaving.  When I closed my eyes I'd be standing by Nate in his coffin, or helping to push him into the hearse, watching it drive him away.  It was more terrible than I'd ever thought it could be. I felt defined by my grief, by what had happened to my friend, my brother, to the details of his death and the injustice of the whole thing.

But I've since been able to step back from Nate, my Lost Friend, the one we saw in our black suits and pinned flowers.   Lately when I close my eyes, I'm with him the last time I saw him alive.  We made plans for when we'd see each other again, play music, maybe another game of paintball.  We hugged like family and parted ways.

His life is what defined him, what helped to define all of us.   I'm glad to leave today to two years ago.  Let it stay there.

I miss you, Nate.  We all do.

02 March 2011

Nate's Birthday

Tomorrow, March 3, is Nate's Birthday.  He would be 29.

I'm sure he would have planned some awesome fun time.  I missed his 27th because I had to work super late that night, but I would have been able to go this year for sure.  Nate was always an exceptional host and knew how to have a good time.

Last year we put flowers and a birthday balloon at the accident site.  I haven't heard any plans for tomorrow yet.  I'll probably go to a figure drawing session, which is kind of like going to the Pink Pony, except quiet and focused and no drinking.

23 January 2011

memorial Tattoo

So Sarah MacDonald, an old friend of Nate and I, recently got a memorial tattoo based off a sketch I drew.  It's a character Nate played in a series of short movies we made together.  And that's his bass and lightning bolt strap.

So this is what Sarah's arm looks like now

and the original sketch, in case anyone else wants to get one

13 January 2011

Court Date

I'm not sure people are still reading this and if they do I'm sure they already know about the court date for the boy who was involved in the accident regarding Nate. Alysia sent out a big message on Facebook asking us to submit any statements we might have about Nate to be read. I kept thinking about it. I kept thinking about how the family was trying to make sure that after Nate lost everything, their boy lost as little as possible. I'm not saying I hate him or he's bad or anything like that. I think it was exactly what I called it. An accident. But I also remember one of my favorite webcomics (Basic Instructions) saying that just because you act like there are no consequences doesn't mean there aren't. I feel like Nate had two sides to him that somehow meshed together well. On the one hand, he was a tad risky. He liked to do exciting things in big ways. But on the other hand, he was responsible in a really rock solid way. I feel like that was the stronger side. Did he like to go have a good time? Sure. But he paid for it out of his own pocket. Did he like to ride? You bet. But never unless he was adequately safe. Someone who was physically tall enough to have his head in the clouds while his feet were simultaneously on the ground. I never appreciated it while he was around.

I kept thinking about how responsible Nate was and I kept thinking about "what if the tables were turned? What if instead of Nate being gone he was on trial for taking the life of a 16 year old?" This is what I wrote when I thought about that.

"It seems odd to me that I am now so distanced from driving through the streets of Golden, Colorado sobbing on my way to teach because I had learned the day before my friend Nate had been killed. Hard to type it and think about it and with friends who share the loss I almost avoid bringing it up because it would feel like picking at a scab that won't heal anyway. Nate was a lot of things I didn't like sometimes. He could be mean. Sometimes he wanted things to be his way and was very insistent that they were. Sometimes he just irritated you. However, when we were teenagers and when we got older I started to realize that Nate was a beacon of responsibility in a way I didn't quite understand then. Before any of us were forced into part time jobs by parents, Nate was already working a late shift at a video store near his parents' house. What were we doing while Nate was working? Well, I can recall going there and irritating him by being a teenager while he was entrusted with a business. While most of us were screwing around at college or screwing around not at college, Nate was holding down a full time job at Honda and earning his own keep. In addition to this, he was playing in a lot of bands that had obtained mid-level success which can be sometimes more than a full time job. When he decided to quit these bands and leave the success a lot of us had dreamed about in high school I asked him why. "Well Paul," he said "If you're the one who can pay the way....you usually do." It was then I realized that Nate had not only bore his own responsibility, but he had taken on the responsibilities of so many others. But I don't think you'd hear him complain. He bowed out yes, but quietly and because he wanted to make sure he fulfilled his own responsibilities. After he died, my friend Robert talked about what a huge loss this was for him. He felt like Nate was the one he could always always count on to be there. The solid responsible rock. In my days as a teacher, I often was a first-hand witness to watching parents try to make sure that the consequence of error did not fall squarely on the shoulders of their children, where it belonged. Today, I think about how Nate often showed all of us what responsibility was. Not with a lot of words (as I'm doing), but by doing it. And I can't help but think that if he were sitting in a seat in a courtroom having taken someone else's life through mistakes and shirking his responsibility he would not ask to be spared the consequences. As a man, long before any of his boyhood friends knew what it meant, I think he would stand up and accept the consequences of errors he had made. My only hope now is that those who have erred and cost fellow human beings a son, brother, bandmate and dear dear friend will not be spared on account of being a boy. For it is in these errors and their consequences as boys and girls that people learn to become men and women frightened but ready to face any dangers that can and most certainly will fall on their doorstep."

Because of time and financial constraints (in addition to living in Colorado) I can't be there on the court date. I'd like to ask for anyone who can be there to be there.

14 December 2010

nate at Devil's Tower


I haven't posted anything here for a while. Not that I haven't thought about it constantly, but it seems like there's been some sort of block. I don't know what it is. Alysia says it might have something to do with my brain thinking it's time to move on whether I want to or not. I think there's something to that. For whatever reason, last october the words just poured out, I could barely hold them back. But now they are less, though I still dream about Nate all the time, miss him all the time. We speak forgotten words in strange landscapes that look kind of like his family's house in Alpharetta, only much bigger, darker, twisted somehow.

But what else is there to say? I remember all these times we spent together, times gone. I stood by his casket until they told me to leave, said tearful words at a podium to his family and friends. They were the worst times of my life, and I remember how awful this time last year was, just about two months after.

And things move on, not easily, but inexorably onwards.

I'm still here, as whoever you are reading this. I took a philosophy class in college and got into a brief discussion with Nate about proof of existence, or something like that. I asked him how he knew he was really here, and he responded that of course he's real. Solidly and absolutely.

03 March 2010

from Nate's dad's calendar book

A letter from Nate's friend Dave Notheis to Nate's Parents

Well first off let me tell you how much I miss your son Nate. And my
> heart and prayers are still with you. He was part of a weekly ritual
> of mine. Every Sunday night I would get a cappucino from Starbucks and
> come and see him at work. Almost like, although not every week, coffee
> time. Talk about how our work weeks were going. And were just becoming
> good friends working in the same biz in general. At the time I was
> riding a 2003 Buell XB9S. Expressed my passion for V-Twin motorcycles
> and told him I eventually wanted to upgrade to a RC51 made by Honda.
> Which to my convenience, he had and was finishing fixing up a 2003
> sp-2 rvt1000r rc-51 from a wreck. I got a price from him and a
> guesstimate of when it would be done........ We shoke hands and he
> gave me his word he wouldn't sell it to anyone else. Months passed as
> I was saving money and one day out of the blue Nate calls me up and
> says it's ready for a test ride. So I test ride it. And instantly fall
> In love with the bike. The day finished with me giving him my WORD
> that I was gonna purchase it and asked to give me a couple more weeks
> to get the ca$h together. He agreed. After maybe two more weeks I
> think, I sold my old bike (Buell) and got all the money together. Came
> over and purchased the rc-51 from Nate. I was so amped about getting
> my dreambike. I wanted to improve my riding skills. So I started
> riding the bike more than once a day for six to eight months,
> constantly improving. So then one day I am sitting alone, in Helen,
> Ga. And who do you think I see... Nate. And of all places Troll Tavern
> not Jordana's. I walk up to him and we start talking about the RC-51,
> how many miles I had put on it so on and so forth. So we said we
> needed to start riding on Sundays and Mondays up in the mtns. And he
> promised to show me some great routes. Which he did. Routes and rides
> that I will always remember for the rest of my life.

02 March 2010

Happy Birthday, Nate.

This is a birthday card I gave him on his 21st birthday. We found it while cleaning out his room.

I can't find the right words tonight. The card will have to do.

13 February 2010

Patchwork Quilt

I suck at silence. Can't be it and I can't live with it. Which is why I always listen to my iPod while doing dishes. And I find music to be wonderful, but I need to hear a human voice. A thought. A story. Another life connected to mine (even if they can't see the connection because of the distance). So I put on Peter Kreeft discussing C.S. Lewis's book "A Grief Observed." I'm usually too lazy to read so I let Kreeft summarize and I say "Someday I'll read that."

A grief observed is about Lewis's journal he kept while coping with the death of his wife. So I immediately go to a place of my most immediate grief. Nate. I find this grief to be odd, but comforting to my concerns about the soul. By my calculations, Nate and I hadn't spoken for months. Quite possibly two years. And yet....I was stunned. Dumbfounded. How was I still standing up? Perhaps I should have sat down. And I realize a few things from one sentence that Lewis said of his wife that I shall adapt to be about Nate.

"His absence spread out like the sky."

That's a pain I understand very well now. I think maybe I thought I did, but whether or not I did....I do now. I think I keep expecting to wake up one day and be free of grief for Nate. That's impossible. I might as well say "Tomorrow I'm going to stand up, but I don't think I'll use my legs." His absence is spread out like the sky because no matter which direction I look...his absence is present. And very final. Untakebackable. Never again will I hear goofy laughs like his (except in my dreams), see toughness like his or even hear bass lines like his. Even if they're identical to Nate's bass lines...that music won't carry Nate's soul. His very essence hanging on every note like a cartoon character dangling from an umbrella floating down from an airplane. So very very final.

This finality of Nate's death (I hate even typing that) shows me another finality. No matter how old I get or where I travel or who I meet I will always miss Nate. Always. And while there will be days when I forget that I am in pain....there will be days when I will feel the sting as if my sister had just called me. As if the funeral director just told me we could go and see him. As if I had just entered the church on that incredibly rainy day. That's very final too.

I think that this must be a picture of ugliness because I have but one thought to counter it. Since I view it as the converse, the mop to this grime, I think it must be beautiful and missing Nate for the rest of my life must be ugly.

I know that a great amount of time had passed since last we met and yet I felt the absence. It stings and burns and twists and contorts. But this shows me a beauty. Somewhere back in our lives. Amongst discussions of Oi! music, amongst discussions of playing bass, talking about the Simpsons, girls, working for Honda, beer and so many other countless things....there was a deep mystical connection. One unseen. One unknown. And as it was unknown to me I suspect it was also unknown to Nate. Somewhere in that bizarre suburb of Alpharetta, GA I got a small piece of Nate's soul in exchange for a small piece of my own. That's why it stings. Because that small piece of my soul that he had in him is now gone. Gone with him on his next bike ride up the great mountain of infinity. And I have two comforts to take from this.

First, I take comfort in knowing that I have a small piece of Nate. I carry it around with me. For the rest of my life. Nate is always with me. He must be because I am always with him. I can't tell you much but I very much sense the absence of a fraction of my soul. Ergo, the presence of a fraction of his.

Secondly, it gives me something new to love. Having this knowledge that Nate's death gives me I can improve life. I now know that I am connected to every living person I bond with in some way. That my soul is not a spool of cloth, but a patchwork quilt. And who wouldn't prefer a patchwork quilt to a spool of cloth. I carry all my loved ones with me. Including the ones I've lost...

..and Nate

There they are. And I'm with them as well. Beautiful. A chain that not even death can break.

And this is the miracle. That we can battle a pain as big and as empty as the sky itself with something as simple as a patchwork quilt.

To this insane thought I can only offer two words as a description.

Divine miracle.

01 February 2010

big scary monster comic book - in progress

For the first time since Nate died, I'm actually feeling pretty good. There's a sense of peace I haven't felt in a long time. But it's a new kind of feeling, since there's still this hole that Nate left. It's confusing to feel happy and hopeful while still in a state of mourning. I sometimes feel guilty for it, though I know it's okay.

One thing that's helping me is working on the Big Scary Monster comic book. It feels like my duty to keep this character alive, this thing that Nate and I created together. And when I'm drawing his character doing new things, it's almost like he's hanging out, thinking up ideas with me. I work on it every day, at least a little, before or after work, whenever I get a chance. This weekend is going to be a marathon of drawing, which is exciting.

There is this one new thing that's been happening. Lately I've been finding myself at the viewing again. Not in a dream, but awake. I close my eyes and I'm standing in front of his open casket. I remember all the details of how I last saw him, vivid as if he's right there. And I keep going back there, over and over, as if a part of me was left there in that room at that time. It makes it hard to fall asleep, and I have to work to think of other things.

It's only been about four months, but it feels like an extremely long time ago that Nate was still around. The heavy weight filling my chest is still there, but the pain is less raw, not getting better exactly, but becoming more manageable.

I'll leave this with a good memory. A few weeks before the accident, Mollie and I went up to Alpharetta to spend a day playing paintball with him and some of his friends. Afterwards we went to eat sushi, and then watched Hellboy 2 at his house. It was so great just spending the day with him like that. The first time we'd done that in so long. I saw my future full of days like those, playing music and going on adventures. It was a great feeling.

06 January 2010

Elephant in the room....no seriously

This is a memory that just surfaced yesterday and I decided to post it.

I think this was going on when we were roughly seniors in high school. Nate had to have some surgery and had his jaw wired shut for a while. While he was in the hospital he threw two blood clots and had to stay longer than expected. He was also on some pretty serious pain killers.

The hospital he was in wasn't far from my family's house and I went to visit him (I think Robert was with me, but I can't recall exactly....someone else was visiting with me). Anyway, Nate was kind of out of it (understandably so) and we were kinda talking and visiting and then he very groggily said "Whoa. I just saw an elephant walk into this room."

I think he was lucid enough to realize that wasn't real, but I remember it being entertaining to us. We decided we should leave and let him get some rest at that point.

01 January 2010

Dream within a dream

This one is from Katzi.

I was feeling strange because I didn't have that one Nate dream where he told me he was fine. Instead, all my Nate dreams had to do with me looking for him and when I eventually found him, he was hidden or taken away from me in a very strange manner. I kept finding myself talking into the darkness, hoping he was listening - even just a little. And sometimes, I would get some sort of sign that he was listening - which eased my mind now and then. But every time I would ask about my dreams that involved him, I would get silence. No signs. No nothing. Those dreams never made any sense. Why would he make himself known only to shield me from him? I don't know. I don't have anyone to talk to to help me interpret these dreams, so I can only dissect them and interpret them through the symbols individually - not as a whole. And that made the dream dissection very difficult because the symbols would never add up in a coherent manner. One symbol would mean one thing and the other would contradict the meaning of the first and so on. What was the point? What was the meaning? Nothing was adding up. So I just gave up. I stopped asking for definite signs and just focused on the moments. Then, I got one of my most direct lines yet.

Last night, I dreamt about being back in school. It was very odd because something was off but I couldn't tell what. Outwardly, everything was as it used to be in high school but there was something not quite right about the situation. I couldn't really tell what it was right away but it would soon come to me in a dream (within my dream).
As I slept in my dream, I had another dream where we were at school again and Nate came up to me, grinning from ear to ear. I jumped up, wrapped my arms around his neck and held on tight. Surprised, he started laughing and asked me what was wrong. I held on even tighter and kept saying, "Whatever you do, no matter where you go, wait five minutes before you go anywhere! Five minutes!"
He pulled me off to look me in the eyes. He was smiling, "Katzi, I'm fine. Everything is fine here."
"Five minutes. Please just wait five minutes before you leave the house or anywhere you're going. Once you've made the decision to leave, just wait five minutes," I kept yelling at him. I was crying at this point but Nate looked into my eyes and kept telling me that he was fine. Everything was fine and I shouldn't worry about him because he was fine and he was going to be fine no matter what. I could smell the leather from the jacket I was tearing my fingernails into and the exhaust from the buses lined up in front of the school. I could feel a warm breeze and hear the chatter of thousands of students around us. I could even feel the warm tears on my face. His voice was echoing, “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.”
I woke up from that dream and found myself in a warehouse. There were rows and rows of Nate’s things all around me. I heard the faint sound of people talking and crying. I spotted one of my necklaces on the floor, put it around my neck and followed the voices into the funeral home on the day we had the Celebration of Life Ceremony for Nate.
I walked up to the casket and it played out like it did in real life – for a moment – and then I found myself yelling out “Five minutes! I told you to wait five minutes!”
No one tried to sop me; they all just let me have my fit. But amidst all the yelling, I felt two large hands fall on my shoulders and spin me around. I was looking into Nate’s smiling face. “I’m fine, Katzi. Don’t worry about me. Everything is fine.”
And with that, I woke up. Dazed, I started to recall it all so that I wouldn’t lose too many details and I'm glad to be sharing it with you.

22 December 2009


Hey Folks,
So I hung out with some folks who knew Nate while I was home for Christmas. I seriously thought only four people were reading this thing and that was it. I found out a lot of people have been checking in to hear more of the little tidbits we've all collected on Nate. Since I know that we have at least 5 people reading this I wanted to issue the following few statements...

1) SEND US YOUR STORIES ABOUT NATE!!! Like we've said....we haven't stopped collecting and we don't plan on stopping. If you have a Nate story....We want it.

2) DON'T BE EMBARASSED!!! I think some people might be afraid to share because they think it's not good enough or they didn't know Nate well enough or whatever. It's all BS. I think it had been well over a year and a half since I had seen or spoken with Nate. It doesn't mean he wasn't my friend and it doesn't mean I don't miss him. I also know that both his sisters read this blog and it is a big help to them. So give us your stories no matter how dumb you think they are. Sometimes the small dumb ones are the best ones.

That's all I have for now, but don't hold back. We want all the Nate stories. All of 'em. Send 'em our way. And thanks for reading.

Here is a quick Nate quote that Frank mentioned when I saw him. It was what Nate would say if Frank asked if he thought a girl was hot.

"On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being a 10 and hot being hot. I'd say she's hot."


16 December 2009

The Vonny Bratchnies music

I have posted the two Vonny Bratchny studio albums we recorded, The Halloween Tape and The Valentines Tape. We did these back around 1997-98 in this guy Rob's basement. Nate of course plays bass in all the songs, as well as sings the backups on several, "Twist With the Dead" most notably.


I also have some video footage of a show we played Halloween 2000 at the 513 club. I'll be posting it soon.

From Kati Reeves

This is an email I just received from a girl that grew up with Nate. Her brother and I were in the same class, Nate was a year older than her but our parents were friends so they always played together. This is a REALLY good one to post! Thanks!

Kati Reeves December 15 at 11:20pm Report

Hi, I'm Kati Beck, not sure if you remember me, but our parents were friends way back in Elgin. I think you may have gone to school with my brother Tom Mull. Last time I saw you was in Georiga and you hair was dyed black with white streaks. If you remember me or not doesn't really matter, but I just wanted to say something to someone who knew Nate, and I'm really not sure what to say to your parents. As I recall, he told me you were his best friend.
Anyway, my Mom just told me about Nate. She didn't want to ruin my birthday, and I guess she just found out from your Mom. I'm so sorry for your loss. Even though I haven't seen him since we were 16, he still had a huge impact on my life. I remember him throwing GI Joes at me off the balcony in your house. I remember him brushing his teeth with Dial soap until your Mom caught him (he was trying to get me to do it, Lol). I remember playing cars in the basement and my car got stuck in the mud for a make believe year. I told him I got unstuck and was drivng away and he argued that if I had been stuck for a year my car would be out of gas and wouldn't start. We did many things together when we were little, but two huge memories stick out the most.
The first was when he started school and I hadn't yet. We were drawing in my kitchen and he told me to write "I Love You". I drew a big heart and wrote "XOXOXOXOXOXO" all over it and said that was how you write it. He told me no and spent the rest of the afternoon teaching me how to write "I Love You".

The second big memory was at Susan Warner's wedding. He had come up from Georgia to attend with your Mom. He kept teasing me all afternoon about how I was too "trendy" and how I was trying to hard to look like everyone else. This was during to chain wallet fad. I pointed to his pocket and said, "What about you, aren't you being trendy?" He pointed out to me that his "chain" was made of strings of pearls so it didn't count. I finally got exasperated enough I told him, "If I don't try to fit in, no one will like me!" He grabbed my face and told me I was beautiful just being me. I didn't need the approval of others, and if I was just myself, at least I would have my self respect. I always remembered that, and every guy henceforth had to except me for who I was or they were gone. And it wasn't just that. I started painting and joined the Air Force and took up ballroom dancing and never had any support in any of it, but I never really cared from that point on. You know what? I may have had people around me before, but after that I always had true friends.

I always thought of looking him up from time to time. I think I may have even tried once or twice, but couldn't find him, or didn't recognize him on FB, or whatever. However, I did always wonder what happened to him.

There are no words I can say to make the pain of what you are going through ease. I cried for a day over Nate. You will probably grieve for the rest of you life to lose your brother and best friend. I wish this had never happened to him. From what I've read he was truly amazing. I know you have lots of people around you, but if you need someone to talk to, I'm here, and I mean it.

11 December 2009

Nate Tape

Another one from Sarah. I also think this is a good time to mention we haven't stopped collecting stories. We don't plan on stopping. If you have a Nate story....we want it. Send it to us. OK...now on to Sarah's story.

There is a picture with this story, but I'm having trouble getting it up here. Working on it!

"when i take ambien, i usually go right to sleep. unfortunately, if i stay awake long enough i start to do weird shit. last night, the weird shit was trying to find a pair of shoes i haven't seen in years. i tore apart my entire house looking for shoes i'd probably thrown away untold amounts of time ago. while i was digging though, i found a cassette tape. i didn't think much of it to begin with because i haven't owned a tape player that wasn't in my car for ages. upon closer inspection, i saw that it had a picture on it that was drawn by my friend jen. when i looked even closer, i saw "vonny bratchnies" written inside the drawing in distinct, clear jen-writing.

2 minutes later i'm out in my car in the freezing cold, barefoot and with no coat. it takes me another 5 minutes to find the start of the tape and finally get to listen to something besides dead air. i don't remember the names of the songs, but i remember hearing them all before. sitting in my car and bawling like a little girl, it reminded me of being 17 and standing in that dirty little club in 5 points and watching nate, robert, and bradley. i listened to the whole thing, and you'd think that i would have eventually run out of tears but no such luck. i didn't stop shaking for 45 minutes after i came inside, so mr. valium had to give mr. ambien a hand in calming me down and letting me go to sleep.

the problem with ambien is you have a vague idea of what you did the night before but no really clear memory. when i woke up and saw the tape on the bedside table i lost my shit all over again. i have a feeling this is going to be the case for years to come. i miss him so fucking much it can't be real. every time i think about him, which is still daily, i feel like someone has punched a hole through my heart. i know alysia wondered if it was still painful and fresh to anyone, and i know it is to me. i think about him every day, and i check the blog several times a week. i don't have anything super enlightening to say either. he will never be forgotten, by me or anyone else that had the pleasure to know him. he was just too goddamn awesome."

09 December 2009

from Alysia sister

So I keep checking the Nate blog site...it has been over 2 months now since The Accident and it feels like forever and it feels like yesterday that it all happened. I don't know if that makes sense, it just is. I don't check the blogsite everyday anymore. Nothing new has been posted since Nov 22nd. I have now gone through a Thanksgiving and my birthday with out my brother for the first time in 27 years. I wonder if any one else is checking the site. Nate is constantly on my mind and I miss him so damn much. I just watched Pulp Fiction and would have been texting him quotes from that movie all night if he was still here. I remember we had a big disagreement about that kid being named "Brett" or "Brad" turns out, Jules calls him BOTH in that scene..."Well look at the Big Brain on Brad!"... I know I am not the only one that still misses him. I guess everybody is just trying to move on as best they can. But I don't want him forgotten. I almost want it to still be that week so that it is still as painful and fresh in everybody's head like it still is in mine, and my family's. We are going to Santa Fe this xmas instead of having our traditional family holiday, all together around a tree on xmas morning. We might never go back to that tradition. I am going to do my best to be patient and cheerful around my family. And we will have fun. I am not going to be as self medicated as I was at Thanksgiving. I don't really have anything deep and substantial to say here tonight, except... Nate, I freakin' miss you like crazy and we are all still thinking about you. I will leave it to Mr Keen and Robert to say the truly enlightened words.

22 November 2009

Bird is the word

Some of you have had what I now refer to as owl stories. Stories of nature behaving unusually to let you know that Nate is OK. I had kinda hoped for one, but in my heart told Nate that if I didn't get one...that was OK.

I got one.

As I'm typing this a bunch of Nate's friends are getting together at a bar in L5P to drink to Nate's memory. I wanted to be there, but living in Colorado has a disadvantage when it comes to this. So I promise Nate's sister that I will have a drink around 2pm Mountain Time (around 4 eastern when they plan on starting the party).

I lazily go about my Sunday tasks. Laundry. Groceries. Dishes. I decide to take a break from chores to watch Star Trek. I finish up and I decide to check my computer. "Oh good," I think "iTunes has downloaded 'This American Life' onto my computer. Now I can listen to it while I do dishes." This has become a new weekly ritual for me. I sync up my iPod, strap it on and get to work on the dishes.

This American Life starts off with a song about turkeys playing baseball and Ira Glass comes on and tells me that they will be keeping their annual Thanksgiving tradition of doing stories about birds and poultry for the show. I think I'm in for an interesting show.

The first story is about an Afghan who decides to test a magic amulet that is supposed to render one bullet proof by strapping it to a chicken and firing at it with a small firearm from about the distance of a tennis court. In retrospect, I think Nate would like that story.

The next story starts off talking about Spalding Gray. Spalding was an Irish-American who went missing and turned up in the East River a few days later. His wife is retelling this sad tale and starts to talk about her children calling her to inform her there is a bird loose in their house. She remembers an old Irish legend Spalding told her about how if someone you know has died and you find a dead bird in your house, their spirit is restless. But if you find a live bird in your house their spirit is free.

I stop what I'm doing and shift my eyes from my kitchen sink to the vent above my stove less than a foot and a half away. I've had a bird living in this vent since around October. About the time we lost Nate.

I check the time. It's a little after 2pm. The party is getting started as the pieces of the puzzle all click into place to show me the picture. Nate is OK.

Now....as gullible as I am I can also be pretty skeptical. I start to try and find an out right away. I can't.

Having a bird living in my vent. Well....not that odd if you've ever lived through a Colorado winter. Finding out that a piece of your life corresponds with an Irish legend. Also not that odd. Finding it out a couple of months after your friend has died. Now it's getting kind of odd. Hearing about the Irish legend of a bird living in your house to indicate the freed spirit of a lost loved one as friends are gathering in your hometown to toast to his memory. I'd rather not calculate the odds.

I call Robert right away in the hopes he can get a hold of Nate's sister. He's still at his new house doing some cleaning. I tell him the story. I can tell he's crying. But this story doesn't make me feel like crying. It makes me feel like dancing. Like singing. Like leaping for joy. For the first time, I know....no....Nate has TOLD me...he's OK. It's all gonna be OK.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Living in a World where I know Nate isn't around is hard. I don't like that idea. But knowing that Nate is safe. Knowing that Nate wants us to know he's OK. Nate LETTING us know he's OK. Gives me a since of relief I can't quite describe.

Thank you Nate. I'm so glad you were....and still are....my friend.