A Gift of God is Born
On the morning of December 9, 1977, Johnny and Hilary Daggett got a phone call from a nurse at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California. At the end of the call the nurse abruptly declared: "If you don't give a name for your son by 12 o'clock noon, I'm putting 'Baby Boy' Daggett on his birth certificate!" And she hung up.
Johnny and Hilary's first child had been born four days earlier on December 5th, and being the relaxed hippies that they once were, they thought they could take their time with this important decision. They didn't know medical bureaucracy had authority over such personal matters so they laid on their bed and prayed seriously about what to name this new little human. After getting nowhere in their prayers, Hils said she was going to take a shower while Johnny stayed put earnestly praying for a God-given name. While Hils was in the shower, Johnny leaped off the bed and shouted through the bathroom door: "Hils-- I got the name!" to which Hilary joyfully replied, "Yah, I know! It's Nathanael!"
The name Nathanael is Hebrew in origin, a combination of the word "Nathan" which means "gift" and "El" which means "God." When put together the name literally means "Given of God," but loosely translated means "Gift of God." Surely that is what the Lord intended when giving N to his parents and all of us. Hilary recalls that when Nathanael was only two years old she was feeling extremely depressed and called up a dear friend from church, Craig Copeland. She asked him to come over and play some music for them. While he was playing his guitar and singing to Hils with little N on her lap, he stopped in the middle of his song and looked seriously at both of them. He was a soft-spoken man, but out of nowhere he declared with great authority: “Your son will be a great help to his mother his whole life.”
This message was fulfilled above and beyond what Hilary expected. In 1994, when Hilary ruptured two of her lumbar discs and had emergency surgery when N was in high school, N helped Johnny care for her by assisting him in taking over all domestic tasks and even cooking for the family. I remember going to their house in high school and N would ask me to help make the beds and vacuum before we had any fun. And later, in the midst of his own serious illness, N cared for his mom on a daily basis. Hilary said that Nathanael was one of the only people she could really listen to-- the only one who gave her instructions and advice that her ADHD brain could handle. When she came to New Mexico to help me take care of N, as the years progressed and her own health declined, she ended up feeling like N was taking care of her. Even up to his last few weeks of life, he watched over his mom very carefully making sure she took all of the right medications, vitamins and supplements patiently repeating the same things that he'd said for years. "Mom, remember I told you that you have to take B6 with zinc or it won't get absorbed." Before N went into hospice care, I sat next to him as he put in a final call to his doctor to ask if he would look after his parents, especially his mom. To this day Hilary follows the Lyme and other protocols that N studied and developed with their doctor for her specific issues. Despite all of her ongoing health trials, I know Hilary would not be where she is today if not for Nathanael's insight, persistence, and dedicated care for his mom. What a tremendous gift he was, is, and always will be to his parents.
And one little person carries N's legacy the extra mile. Jeremy Gray, one of N's best friends from college, texted us on May 22, 2015 asking us to call him as soon as possible; I sensed it was important. That night we called Jeremy and his wife Laura to find out they were at the hospital after giving birth to their first son. N's eyes were blinking and squinting as Jeremy explained how important it is to carefully choose a name for a person as that is what they will carry with them the rest of their life. He then proceeded to tell us that they had chosen to name their first son Nathanael after N because of all he meant to their lives, how much they admired his faith, and how he handled life. I wish I could have captured the awe on N's face as he processed this token of honor. He was quiet after we hung up and I could tell he was deeply moved. He told me over and over again how much this gesture greatly blessed him. It was a wonderful gift that was given to him a little over three weeks before he left this earth and one which continues to bless our entire family as well. Here is N's namesake, little Nathanael Gray-- "Given of God" to a very special family!
The Lord named Nathanael "Given of God" and indeed intended to give a lasting gift to all of us when he created him. This website and blog are a part of N's legacy of giving and I look forward to posting more of his knowledge and stories with you in hopes that they will be helpful to you or someone you know.
As flu season is upon us, stay tuned for some of N's well-studied and tested remedies! Peace out!