A Tribute to Nathan Richeson: 9/20/84 - 8/29/2014

Dear Mai,

Death is hard to deal with in almost any context. At this point its hard to say what you do or don't understand. One thing that I know you do understand is when we're sad and unfortunately sad is a gross understatement for this past weekend. 

Cousin Nathan died last Friday in a senseless accident. Mommy went back to Ohio to be with Lala and the rest of the family. I can't express in words the emotions we're all feeling this weekend. It's hard Mai.

The best way to pay respect to Cousin Nathan at this point is to let him live on through our stories. So let me tell you one.

I didn't know Nathan incredibly well but I'm blessed to have had him as a part of my life. When Mommy and I first moved to Seattle, Nathan had a quick layover out here for work. He went out of his way to meet us and give us a tour of his plane. At this point in his life, Nathan was only 26 years old. The fact that he made it a point to see us shows what kind of character Nathan had. Mai, when I was 26 years old I don't know if I would have been mature and caring enough to do the same thing. Not only did he make time for us, he made us feel comfortable in his domain. I hadn't really talked to Nathan much prior to that point but I remember seeing his passion for flying shining through. In this one small visit Nathan revealed what kind of man he was. He was disciplined, passionate, humble, intelligent and caring. He wasn't even married to Lala yet so he still had a chance to run from this crazy family before anything was official. But he didn't. Instead he stopped by and visited us. His family. 

Let's celebrate his life every time we remember him Mai. From Lala and Nathan's wedding... you're first flower girl appearance.

To your first toy airplane. Grandma was here when you first got that toy and you started (and still do) lovingly calling the little people Nathan and Lala. You really aren't into naming your toys right now. Your other people toys are just "girl" "boy" "baby" "bear" "dog" - not the most creative of names but very descriptive I suppose. Not these two though. They have always been Nathan and Lala and always will be.

Let's celebrate Nathan every time we pass Boeing field and see those big airplanes. Let's celebrate by sharing stories whenever we're together with the family.

Tomorrow, Lala and the rest of the family will be celebrating Nathan's life at a funeral service with full military honors. Let's open our arms and hearts to Lala, Linda, Rick, Grandma, Courtney, Tarn and Mommy and the rest of his family. Let's help give them strength for tomorrow and let them know that we love them all very much.

I'll never understand flying beyond the mysterious beauty of a lay person. I have so much respect and admiration for pilots. One of my favorite authors in my life has been Richard Bach. Through his words as a pilot, I've gained an even more appreciation for flying. In absence of my own words I think its fitting to end with a quote from one of my favorite books by him, Illusions.

Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.” - Richard Bach. Illusions.

With much respect, love and sincere condolences to the Richeson and Lynch families,

The Castañedas