Natalie Mary Nihsen, Nat Nat, Aunt Nat, Scooter, Gabby’s mom, Daughter, Sister, Friend fulfilled God’s purpose on earth on August 15, 2019 at 28 years of age from complications of lupus resulting in a cranial hemorrhage. She was born on November 14,1990 in Peoria, Illinois. She leaves behind Parents John and Kristie Nihsen, sister Sara Jeffries (Jim), brother Tim Nihsen (Randi), nephews Easton, Harley, and Wilson, Niece Kenlea, Grandmas Rose Stoner and Lavon Nihsen. Gone before her are grandpas Kenneth Nihsen and Wendell Stoner, Great Grandma Mary Vanderheiden (who Natalie was named after), uncles Paul Wagoner and Jeff Stoner.
As a young child Natalie was charasmatic, happy, and persistent. She hated the word “no” and had a hard time taking it for an answer. She was so persistent that she begged for a purple trash can for her 4th Christmas. That’s all she wanted. Purple trash cans were hard to come by back then but Mom finally found one at the dollar store and Natalie was so happy.
As Natalie grew up her favorite things included playing dress up with her sister Sara and building forts with Tim. She was Daddy’s little “Scooter” except when she was sick and made mom rock her while she rubbed her tummy. She loved her baby dolls and would line them up and preach fire and brimstone to them. She would stand on the corner of our lot with the American Flag and sing “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb”. She loved her jewelry and the sparklier the better. She ate butter straight from the dish. She loved pasta, casesar salad, Dr. Pepper, and mint chocolate chip ice cream. She found a new passion for skydiving. She loved to sit and pet her dog Gabby Sue who she called “Poopers”.
Natalie knew she did not want kids of her own so she cherished being Aunt Nat. She was the best Aunt that E man, Harley man, Kettle bells, and Little Will could ask for. From baking cupcakes, having sleepovers, cheering on at sporting events, going on roller coasters, stopping over for a quick visit, and telling cheesy jokes like “Never trust a fart”. Aunt Nat was THE BEST!
In 2012, Natalie’s determination helped her graduate within 3 years from Iowa State University with her degree in elementary education. During her college years Natalie began to experience the debilitating effects of lupus. She never used it as an excuse, but it really affected who she was, leaving her unable to do the things she used to do. Only those closest to her knew how debilitating it truly was. During this time she also took a position at Athene in West Des Moines. Over the years her tenacity lead her to a position as Team Lead for claims processing and contact center. She had many great coworkers who were also dear friends.
God gave Natalie parents that accepted Christ as their Savior around the time she was born. When Natalie was in kindergarten she made her own decision to ask Jesus into her heart and then when 9/11 happened she reaffirmed her decision. On the day Natalie went to heaven, we were standing in grief when God gave us comfort through a devotional. “You can trust Jesus through your hard times because of who He is. He loves you, He is good, He is faithful, He is wise, He is almighty, and He doesn’t make mistakes.” Psalm 139:16 says “You saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Natalie lived 10,447 days on this earth. God knew before she was born what day would be her last. We grieve with comfort from God’s word that His will has been done. We believe that Jesus died and rose again. Natalie believed that too. On her appointed day she was in heaven, HOME FREE with ultimate healing! No more lupus to suffer day after day. No more shots, sadness, depression or loneliness. God’s got her. We are still here though, left behind to navigate life without her. Our purpose is not yet done. Therefore we will remain to fight the good fight. One day we will see her again. And so shall we ever be with the Lord!
Iowa - Lupus Foundation
118 SE 4th St. Suite 101, Des Moines IA 50309