The news stories call him Nate, but in my head he’s Nation, because that’s what Jodi Hanson and I always called him. His life has become a news story, and it’s awful.
Nation was just a boy when we moved in down the street from his family in Chippewa Falls. My youngest sisters have been friends with him for 30 years.
Even after my sisters moved back to Minnesota, Sister #2 and I would bring Nation home with us so they could hang out. Whenever we’d get close to passing a car on I-94 one of us would shout “Good posture family!” and we would sit up really straight like a bunch of dorks hoping the car next to us would notice and laugh. I can’t remember if anyone ever did, but it amused us. The drive from Eau Claire to Shakopee can be kind of a bore, especially once you get past Menomonie.
I’ve been thinking about those drives since Sister #3 told us Nation’s son died, and even more so once we learned about the horrible circumstances of his baby’s death. The flowers we sent seem so inadequate. Every word and thought and gesture and ache of my heart is inadequate.