For me, April 12th will always be Nathan Nakis day. My kid brother Nathan was born on April 12th, 1984. I gave him a Tonka truck as a welcome gift and we were best friends (most of the time) after that.
My brother taught me a lot about health and fitness through his example and through the ideas we talked about and explored. We hiked together, camped together, rode bikes together, climbed trees and rocks together. We were paramilitary kids, collecting military surplus gear, practicing boot camp drills, and going on training missions together. We built trenches and foxholes and tree forts. We developed our own health code, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, even including coffee, tea, soda, and cough medicine. He was a far better athlete than I ever was, because he was actually able to listen to coaches and tolerate team members (I was too antisocial to stay with organized sports and became a skateboarder instead). In high school, he lettered in multiple sports. He ran cross country, played soccer, wrestled, and went to the school an hour early every day to lift weights.
We lost Nathan a little over 16 years ago, to a vehicle accident in Iraq. Since that time, I have tried to keep his memory alive by learning as much as I can from him and carrying elements of his personality with me. I remember that he tried to make a new friend every day and learn something new at every opportunity. He always pursued what made him happy without hurting other people. He was a champion for the kids who others ostracized or made fun of. He was a much better person than me, yet I’m here now and he is not. That fact hurts, but it also gives me motivation to grow, to improve, and to become more like him.
I love you Nathan. I hope to see you again one day.
One thought on “April 12th is Nathan Nakis Day”