Highlighted by Amelia Moore

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You have to understand, Nathan’s childhood was different than most peoples. He moved from foster home to foster home, usually separated from his sisters. He would have to try and adjust to a new home, find his way without a family and without the kind of emotional support that so many of us are blessed enough to get at home without even realizing it. He had to catch up in class to being at a new school and try to fit in with the new kids. Then he’d suddenly move and have to do it again. And then do it again. As he realized his home was different, he grew more and more terrified of what the other kids would think of him if they found out. They all had something that he didn’t: a family at home. As if it wasn’t cruel enough of fate to have not given him the emotional support of having a family growing up, his biggest insecurity became that he was embarrassed about not having one. It made him feel empty and unaccepted. I think it’s what made him want as many people’s approval, acceptance and embrace as possible. But at all times he had to keep his life, his secrets hidden away. All through high school he thought that if anyone found out he was in foster care they would stop loving him and abandon him outright. That they would find out there was something wrong with him and want rid of him. I think on some level that’s how he must have felt being shuffled around as a kid. So he hid his life. So much so that I remember countless times as adults when he would lie about basic, unimportant details or dodge simple personal questions. He didn’t need to do this. People weren’t personally investigating him because they suspected his secret past; they were just making casual conversation. It didn’t matter. He never stopped being scared that if you knew his story, if you knew his weakness and the heaviness he carried around with him that you’d stop caring about him. That you wouldn’t want him around anymore and someone would come and take him away. He never really shook that. That’s why he covered up the red wine stain and then ran away, like a little kid breaking something, afraid that you’ll send him away and stop loving him forever. I think that fear and vulnerability is why he was so empathetic and why he cared so much about anybody he called friend, of which there hundreds and hundreds. He wanted everyone to feel important, accepted and cared for. Everyone. He gave more time listening to the problems of people he either loved or barely knew and sometimes gave so much of his money or food to the homeless that he didn’t have enough left for himself. He was incredible that way.