I had no idea that our talks at Nate's funeral were being taped. But as I've listened to them, I'm glad I have it. This is my talk. It was given with much emotion both laughter and tears. And I hope the spirit in which I gave the talk was conveyed to those who listened and maybe those who read this.
Brothers and sisters, I am honored to be here today to honor my friend, my beloved Nate. I want to start out by giving you a quick rundown about how I know Nate. I came into the Ridgemont 18th Ward in 2002. I was called for a short amount of time to teach 24 to 30 year-olds, even though I was in that category at the time. Nate is three years younger than I am and I walked into the classroom and Nate had his feet on another chair with his arms folded. I thought I had just walked into the CTR B's class. :) He stared at me and I began to teach. Some of the time he put his hand over his mouth like he was going to start laughing. I thought, "You little brat!" I wanted to kick him out so badly! But I did other things. I assigned him to say the prayer almost every time, I called on him to read scriptures and slowly but surely we became very good friends. :)
Nate went to Mexico with me and my family and we had some hilarious moments with him. They were falsely accused of riding some scooters. Well, they were riding some scooters and one of them got scratched (so they told my family) and it was just like this big mess! Nate kind of got feisty with them and the next thing we knew, a 300-pound man was chasing Nate down the street. Nate was just in his flip-flops, shorts, and no shirt. I saw him running and running and running! His flip-flops are flying off and long story short, Nate survived! And we were grateful for that!
Nate used to tease me just like he teased everyone else. One of things he always said to me was, "Kim, you like me!" I was like, "Whatever, Nate!" He said, "You think I'm sooo cute!" I was like, "YOU are so into yourself! I cannot believe you!" But he said it ALL the time. "You think I'm soooooooo cute!" (laughing) and then as we spent time over those two years, Nate and I were wonderful friends. And then I moved away. A few years later--let me back up shortly. I've had terrible depression since I was 21 years old. I'm 36 now. It is a terrible illness. Brothers and sisters, maybe people don't believe it, but it is as serious as cancer or ANY OTHER illness--and darker. And Nate knew that about me. And like I said, a few years later he contacted me. And without me even being able to say, "Hey Nate, how are you?" He said, "Kim, I had no idea what you were going through. Had I known, I would have been a better friend. But I know now. I know Kim what you suffer because I suffer, too. And I want you to know that you're an angel. And I'm so sorry!"
Thus began a beautiful friendship between us that was far deeper than it was about six years before. Over the last three years, both of us have suffered deeply to the point where sometimes--most of the time--we are unable to leave our homes. We felt trapped. And even though I never walked in Nate's shoes and he never walked in mine--and we went through different things--but we wore the same brand. We spent the last three years with many phone calls talking about life, talking about all of his dreams and hopes. He was ridiculously intelligent. He had plans to save and do amazing things in this world. We laughed, and when Natalie passed away, we wept together. I said, "Oh, Nate! If I could take this from you I would!" And he often said those words to me. Now, I want to tell you a couple of experiences quickly about this week as Nate passed away. Nate has definitely still been here and has been near me. And Clixe (#2) put on Facebook the little memorial thing. And there was a picture of Nate. And Nate and I hadn't seen each other in over a year. It was all phone calls and emails because of how sick we both were. And here is this picture of Nate with this long hair and I took a double-take. And I'm going to be honest, my heart skipped a beat. And I looked at that picture, and as clear as day I heard the words, "You think I'm sooo cute! You love that long hair, don't you?" And I sat there and I said, "NATE, I am mourning over you! Do you mind?!" And then in my mind's eye, I saw tears rolling down his face. He just wanted me to smile for a minute.
Nate, in front of this whole congregation, I always thought you were cute! But now I think you're beautiful! You were NOT a failure--EVER! You suffered things that most people will never suffer in this life. And I will NEVER EVER judge you! And I pray with all my heart that no one in this congregation will judge him, either. He is wrapped in the arms of His Savior and not only that, he is a warring angel and he will fight this epidemic of suicide, depression, and all that comes with it. He will fight for the little ones, he will fight for the young adults, and he will fight for the elderly. He will never ever leave his family, his beloved family.
One last thing...well two, I'm trying to make it quick. Umm...I actually think that Nate stole my scriptures because I can't find my Bible, so if you guys see them ("Kim Curtis"), they are out there somewhere and I'm pretty sure he did that. He's like that. Oh, well. Thanks, sis! (My sister walked up to the pulpit and handed them to me :)
On the program it says these words, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, Nate...(crying)...for the former things are passed away."
BUT there is a verse on there that was not on the program. And it is the most important to me. "And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things NEW. Write for these words are TRUE and FAITHFUL." (Revelations 21:4-5)
Nate, everything is going to be made new for you. You go bounce on those clouds and you run around and you have a beautiful future! And we will remember you with all of our hearts. And last, I promise last, this is my song for Nate. And I'm not going to sing it because everyone would run screaming from the building. I cannot sing AT ALL.
fare thee well
my own true love
farewell for awhile
i'm going away
but i'll be back
though i go 10,000 miles
my own true love
10,000 miles or more
the rocks may melt
and the seas may burn
if i do not return
oh don't you see
that lonesome dove
sitting on an ivy tree
she's weeping for
her own love
as i shall weep for mine
oh come ye back
my sweet friend
and stay a while with me
if I had a friend
all on this earth
you were that friend to me!"
(10,000 miles by Mary Chapin Carpenter)
I bear my testimony that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that those beautiful promises of being together forever are very much real. Nate, I love you, I miss you, I know you're here...I think you're beautiful.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I stole this flower from the church yard to take to the cemetery. Nate would have been proud. ;)
Side note for my benefit: At the end of my talk, Nate's father got up to speak and the first words he said were, "Kim, you were Nate's angel on this earth and I'm sure that he will be your angel throughout eternity." I will always cherish those words. Thanks Pete. :)
Side Note 2: The story of the Mexico is totally messed up. The real story will have to remain with those who were there or heard it with Nate's own mouth. I barely gave a drop of it...and I messed up. Sorry!