Love Like Nate

“Every morning I still wake up and the first thing I want to do is see your face.”

I have so much to say, and yet so little. My mind feels so far away today. I’ve been told today will be worse than tomorrow. It’s difficult to tell. I’ve dreaded this week, dragged my feet hoping it wouldn’t come while concurrently wishing it would just be over already. Sometimes waiting is the worst part. It holds you in place, keeps you locked until your time is called so you can finally begin moving forward.

I have wanted to write so much these past few weeks. I wish I had a better excuse for not, but to be honest I have just been so tired. Cecilia, school, and just getting myself up every morning out of bed without him takes every ounce of strength and energy I have. So often I find myself reciting thoughts I would like to capture on paper, to write and share. Yet by the time I get time to do it, the thought of typing anything feels like climbing a mountain with 100 pounds on my back. I feel so weighed down.

I can still feel him. I can see him when I close my eyes, feel his love and warmth. It doesn’t feel possible that he has been gone for one year. That in less than 24 hours I will no longer be able to say “last year Nate and I were doing this together…” I have a voicemail from him on March 31st last year. I have listened to it over and over and over again. His voice sounds so familiar still, like it was yesterday. I miss him. I miss everything about him. In so many ways it feels like he has only been gone for 10 seconds. And yet it feels like 100 years.

I recently turned 26. I feel so more like 62. So tired, so heavy, so old. Too much has happened for me to only be 26. I don’t like turning a year older while he will forever remain frozen in time, his face never aging past 24. And then I see Cecilia’s face. And how much she has grown, how much she looks like him. I cannot express into words how wonderful she is to me, how much of a gift I was given through her. She truly is my light.

There is so much I want to share, so many thoughts on life, love, death, faith, etc… but I simply do not have the words, nor the energy today. As I allowed myself time to grieve alone this morning I began to finally read through the dozens of letters Nate wrote me. How blessed I am that he should leave such a lasting memory of his love for me! It is not without coincidence that I opened the following letter first; for even after death he always knows the right thing to say.

25 March 2013

Dear Jen,

This morning I found out that an old classmate of mine has died. I was never very close to him, but we did become friends in middle school when we were both into skateboarding and football.

As these kind of things are wont to do, the news made me think of my own life and death. One of my biggest fears is not dying so much as it is leaving my loved ones uncertain, be it about my affections for them, things I may have said to or about them, or even the state of my own soul. When I die, I want my friends and family – and you especially – to know that I left this world in God’s friendship and so await you in heaven for when your own time should come.

And as I thought about this, it struck me that the only way to pass on such assurance (to myself not least of all) is to love radically at every moment. For death does not pre-announce itself, not for most people at least. What a terrible thing it would be to die after an argument with you or after sinning against God! To die unreconciled is surely the worst thing that can happen to anyone. I must continue drinking from the source of love Himself if I am to become a flowing spring to others. Please pray that God will teach me how to love like Him. I love you.

Love, Nate

Let us all remember to have faith and love like Nate.

Jennifer Trapuzzano

Senate Bill 279

First I want to thank you all for the overwhelming support that has flooded our way since the announcement of this bill this past week. So many of you have come forward asking what you can do to help it get passed. This means so much. I would like to share a few of my thoughts on this bill and then share some instruction on what you can do to help.

This bill was written by Senator Merritt with my husband’s murder as the motivation. Nate’s murderer was only 16 and yet had been in and out of the juvenile system far too many times without any accountability for his criminal actions. Because of a system failure, he was able to roam the streets freely and kill my husband on the morning of April 1st.

Now I know there is nothing that can bring Nate back, although I so often wish I could. I also can’t say for certain that had this bill been in place last year that it would have prevented Nate’s murder. I can say this – that if it can even save one family from the devastation that we have had to suffer, then it is worth every single minute of my time, and yours, to get passed. And even though this won’t solve anything overnight, I believe it is a step in the right direction. There are many things that still need to be improved within our city to decrease our crime rate, but it starts here and it starts with us.

I want to start by getting this bill passed, then work from there to start making sure our laws are enforced – because what good is another law it if is not enforced. Our police force is doing the best they can, and they have suffered this past year too. But there has to be a way out there to get these criminals off of the streets.

I also want to give a clarification out there, that this bill is not a limitation on gun access. Instead it incorporates harsher punishments to those who were once considered minors, and also to those who use guns violently or carry them illegally. For those who carry guns legally, this will not affect you in any way so long as you use it within the state of the law.

The purpose of the bill is to provide that a juvenile court does not have jurisdiction over an individual: (1) at least 14 years of age who carries a handgun without a license; or (2) who uses a firearm in the commission of an offense. Makes communicating a threat with the intent to cause the evacuation of school property or a hospital a Level 6 felony. (Under current law, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor.) Adds unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon to the definition of “crime of violence”. Provides that a person who uses a firearm to commit certain offenses may be sentenced to an additional term of 20 years. (Under current law, the person may be sentenced to an additional term of five to 20 years.)

Here is a link to the current draft of the bill: SB 279, January 8 Version

Here is a link to the Indianapolis News article about the bill: http://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2015/01/12/legislators-seek-tougher-sentences-gun-crimes/21661545/

Here is how you can help:

  • Call your senator:
    • if you don’t know who to call, check here: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/
    • You’ll want to call the number associated with the state senator, who should pop up first on the list.
    • Tell the call representative that you’re calling to ask Senator ___ to support Senate Bill (SB) 279. They will ask for your name and address, and that’s it! It should only take a few minutes of your time.
  • Write a letter or email to your senator:
    • Dear Senator ____:
      I notice that SB 279 has been assigned to committee. I am writing to ask that your caucus move with a sense of purpose to make certain that this bill moves through the Corrections and Criminal Law Committee to the Senate floor. I have been more concerned than ever about juvenile offenders committing violent crimes since the young husband and father, Nathan Trapuzzano was murdered in a shooting last April in Indianapolis by a juvenile in Indianapolis. In every county in our state, our leaders need a “carrot-and-stick” approach to work with troubled youth. SB 279 will give our prosecutors the “stick” they need to deal with the most violent among them. SB 279 is a just, vital, and necessary update to our juvenile code. Senator, I welcome the opportunity to write to you concerning SB 279. I am watching your Senate website to see news of your committee activities, and I wish you a successful 2015 Session.
      Thank you for supporting SB 279,
      __________your name_________
  • Help spread the word and get others involved!

Thank you all!

Jennifer Trapuzzano