Renee Natzke

When Death is a Gift

Renee Natzke has been called to write and speak after her heart shattered in September 2015. Her young son, Jack, died unexpectedly of an unknown cause. She is transparent about her journey with deep grief, her healing and resilience through God’s grace.  She is passionate about finding joy after tragedy and shining her sons light, love, and peace into the world. She lives in Green Bay, WI with her husband Jason and daughter Ella.

“I was able to dream and believe that anything was possible because heaven had my back.”

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My hope, dreams, and expectations filled a large glass jar that shattered below my feet that September day. I walked through life with blinders on, taking my life and faith for granted until the situation I couldn’t even fathom became my reality.

As my five year old little boy, lay lifeless on his hospital bed, a presence surrounded me and a voice said, “I am giving you this, so that you can show others you can live with the death of your child.” This voice was God and I then realized he had been downloading thoughts into my head for years to prepare me for this time in my life. When you go through trauma and tragedy you feel you do not have a choice. You have a life sentence of sadness and pain. I have sat in the dark valley of grief, of anxiety, of depression and experienced this hell on earth.  However, there were moments where I could see the characteristics my son had on earth had been transformed and tucked into my soul. My son was part of me. Not in the way everyone comforts the bereaved by saying he is always with you. But his burning desire and passion, His fierce love, his ending joy was stitching my broken heart back together. I understood that I was given a gift. My child had to die for my own eyes to open. I could now see empathy and true compassion for the hurting. I could see the beauty of creation and feel one with the earth. I looked beyond judgements and evil and found love and grace for all. I was able to dream and believe that anything is truly possible because heaven had my back. How often we go through life believing we will have another day or even years to live. Everyone expresses that “life is short” but most have an excuse to not follow their dreams or even be present with those right in front of them. I could easily give up and allow the sadness to overtake me, but I found that joy and sadness can coexist. That a glimmer of hope can catapult you to a higher calling. By listening to your inner voice, your guide, your God there is more to life than the mundane and routine. Follow your heart and live with no regrets. Do not let an unexpected shattered heart be the reason that wakes you up. Slowly my glass jar has been filled up again. It doesn’t look as I saw it before that September day, but the light still shines through the pieces that have been gently and gracefully put back together.

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