Here are the words that my Dad shared at Nathan’s funeral.

(Nathan Leif McMillan, February 6-10, 1998, was born caesarean, premature, the victim of trisomy-13 chromosome disorder, in the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton.)

No person is an island no matter how small in size or short in days. Amidst agony and bewilderment, Nathan has impacted our lives by sharpening our focus, intensifying our awareness, tempering our resolve and adjusting our agendas. Without knowing it, Nathan has been an effective instructor, similar to the Master Teacher, not as a lecturing professor but rather as a laboratory guide, urging us in the further practice of concepts and principles already in place. Urging us to …

1. Love Intensely. No little boy ever experienced more love in three days, as well as the month leading up to February 6, the kind of parental love which is not connected with potential, performance, and productivity. Nathan was the recipient of divine, unconditional love, the type we all crave and struggle to receive and to be. May our God water the fertile ground of our brokenness with our tears to produce fruit of acceptance, tenderness, compassion, consideration …

2. Prioritize Realistically. Fortunately, Nathan never observed how scrambled adult priorities can become. But his brief presence caused family and friends to focus on him with reckless abandonment of money, time, occupations, studies, accomplishments, and schedules. He tossed all these congestions of our lives into a new arena and forced us to re-consider Jesus’ warnings about playing the game of life for possessions, popularity and power. Little one, we will always be your debtor.

3. Relate Meaningfully. Nathan, like the proverbial pebble in the pond of life, has instigated richer relationships between Mom and Dad and given his extended families, along with their multitude of friends, a renewed appreciation for caring, healthy, supportive relationships. He has given us the choice opportunity to express how much we survive and thrive on one-anotherness. We have tasted afresh the sweet goodness which is intrinsic in family, community and human-hood. Hospital personnel such as doctors Farrell, Okun, Tyebkhan, Burn. A team of angelic nurses with names such as Heather, Jackie, Laurel, Maryann, Morag, Bonnie, Barbara, Janie and more. Steve and Rebecca’s church-family, the greater Yellowknife church network, St. Joseph’s School, Liz and her NWT support system. This fantastic network of relationships enables us to cling to the worthwhileness of life and service.

Nathan, you will be more than a memory; you will be a continual reminder of what is important. Thank you for intersecting our hurried lives. And now, as our thoughts shift from “what might have been” to “what must be,” we take our stand with the Hebrew, King David of old, who, experienced a similar agonizing loss and demonstratively exhibited his grief. However, when his child’s ailment ended in death, “David washed, changed his clothes and worshiped.” When approached for an explanation for his actions, David affirmed, “I will go to him but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:22).

Grandpa & Grandma McMillan,
14 February 1998