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The Trees We’ll Plant for You… In Memory of Nate Shatsoff, a guy who outgrows the word “Hero” in our hearts.



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Nate- I want to pin 10,000 words to this post but you will forever be a guy who only wanted a few words, a guy who never asked for spotlight so that you could gather the light to shine on others. I’ll never forget your selfless nature and your kind spirit. Rest in Peace, Nate. You are a hero to all of us… the reason we will pick dreams back up and look forward. Thank you for pinning your Today to the Tomorrows of so many.

If it were possible, I’d mold a full time job from counting hands.

All the hands that ever touched yours. Held yours. High fived yours in the dugout. Shook yours after a Relentless event.

I’d tell the nearly endless sets of Ten Fingers and Two Hands just how lucky they were to know you. But if hands could giggle, they surely would. If hands could speak, they’d surely say back, “Of course, we know it. That boy… that boy… well, there will never be another like him again.”

We’ve laced different verbs next to your name since the days of middle school. To learn from you. To confide in you. To laugh with you. To pray for you. To be Relentless right alongside you. But Missing you? That’s a new one. A verb we tried to tell ourselves we’d never have to learn at such a young age. That’s one we will all need to figure out and find our way around, only with our hands latched into one another as we look up to the clouds and promise you that we’ll be stronger for you.

The dirt on the grounds of the baseball diamond, its aching without your cleats. Our hearts are learning to stir this funny recipe of Emptiness & Heaviness over your absence.We’re sharing stories left & right. And we are all just carrying you triumphantly in our memory, ousting you up to sit on Strong Shoulders as we bring you around the field because you hit home runs for all of us. Over & Over Again, You Hit Home Runs. For your family. For your friends. For a world that will never look at cancer the same way again.

We’ve said it six thousand times by now: that Time will be so many things in our lives–it’ll dress up as a blessing and dress down as a grievance– but it won’t ever be our best friend.  The lesson, it hits us on the head as we begin to look around and see a world that is already learning to hold you perfectly in the trees and autumn air, only because she has no other choice but to pin a perfect boy into her scenery.

And this is the lesson you taught us first, Nate. With your actions. Your motivation. Your determination to get down on both knees and plant a tree,  so that on a day like today, maybe five years from now, someone will find Shade & Comfort beneath your tree. And the forest you started–Big,Gathered & Green–from a single word that you decided to wake up and live.

Wake up, roll over, plant two feet on the ground and live. Relentless.

Please take a moment to trace over the legacy that Nate has started. His dream was to see Relentless spread & sprawl & grow…. I have no doubt, this organization will one day be Nate’s forest.


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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!


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