Christian Nataline.

‘Energy like you has no beginning and no end. It can never be destroyed. It is only ever shifting states.’

My dear, dear boy. Nobody ever fought as hard as you did. Superhuman, that. You wanted very badly to stay and honestly, we all thought you would.

Eight years of friendship but so much more. From the moment we met that connection was there. With a twenty year difference in age, I was old enough to be your mom and in many ways you felt like one of my children. As we each moved from trial to trial, I was Batman and you were Robin. I talked you off the wall more than once and you did the same for me. For eight years we never went more than a few weeks without being in touch and once you moved to Florida, we would spend hours on the phone.

We were astronauts who had gone to strange places others could only imagine. But you—you went further than fathomable. Beyond fear, beyond pain, beyond suffering. It was both terrible and beautiful to witness—your hungry love of life and what you were willing to endure in order to hang onto it.

And a wonderful life it was. Karen, Christina and Ellie. Your three gorgeous girls.

I was on my way to see you when I learned that you had passed. Fortunately the woman on the bus had a big bag of tissues. When we got to Logan I ended up messy crying on the floor of the Jet Blue terminal. Made a scene, I did. A blubbery, righteous, raw demonstration of unbridled grief.

You are no longer suffering and those who love you will love you always. These are the two things I hold onto but man, I gotta tell you. I am gutted.

However. We both embraced those battle metaphors because we knew what it was like to be on the front lines. You—I heard that just last week you were asking about chemo. Christian Nataline, you raised the bar.

Just know this. I will never, ever stop fighting. And I will keep my eye on your beautiful family.

Rest now.

Love, Linnea

 

*Panache Desai

6 responses to “Christian Nataline.

  1. Beautiful tribute to a fighter!

  2. So sorry Linnea. So so sorry. No other words

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. Beautiful tribute. painful. emotional. raw. real. As i have come to expect from you. Just after i was diagnosed – maybe a month after? – the first two writers that I immediately connected with – and helped me understand this disease and how best to explain it and deal with it — were Paul Kalanithi and you, Linnea. You and your writing – are a gift to the rest of us in this lung cancer world (and even the world far beyond that). Based on this post – and this wonderful photo – i wish i had met Christian. And i wish that he were still living the life he wanted to live. i am sorry for the loss of your friend. LOVE! LIVE!

  4. So sorry your friend has passed. Sending you love and hugs.

  5. Such beautiful words for Chris. Technically he is my son in law but I consider him my son as do you. I will miss him forever, but will have the pleasure of seeing him through my granddaughters, Christina and Ellie.

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