So many people have done things for Nash Day that are beyond creative. It amazes me the things people have thought of. A friend of mine, Amanda, wanted to adopt a highway in Nash’s name. When I say a friend, this is a girl I have hung out with maybe 5 times – five times and she was affected by Nash’s story so much that she had a highway adopted in his name!!!! That is amazing. I was so touched that she even thought of us. She picked a road that Todd and I travel down often. It’s in the town of Twining, Michigan where I attended high school. Our cabin is also off of this road. It has to be cleaned twice a year as part of the conditions to adopt a highway. She invited whoever wanted to help. I thought to myself,” Who is going to want to clean the side of a road on a Saturday besides us?” After all, it’s for our son. We have a good reason to be there.
We were supposed to meet in a parking lot near the corner of the road. When we pulled in, I was thinking maybe five people would be there. Some had already called me to apologize for not being able to make it, so I wasn’t expecting anything big. When we pulled in, I saw about 30 people all standing ready to help. I got out of the truck and cried. My husband’s hometown of Fenton has been amazing. They have had a lot of opportunities to show up and they have. I had never felt that I belonged in Fenton until Nash died and I got to see how great the people are. What an amazing community it is. To see strangers honor my son. Fenton now feels like home…getting out of that truck in my hometown and seeing my friends and family was overwhelming. It was like they were saying, “Don’t forget about us. We love you too!” It’s my home and I have never been more proud to call it home. Again, some of these people have been my friends for a long time and some are merely acquaintances – all there to clean up trash on a Saturday. We went to the sign with Nash’s name on it. They had tied balloons to it that we released. How amazing are people?!?!?! I loved seeing his name there. Every time Todd goes hunting, every time I go home to visit, I will see that sign.
As we started picking up trash, it got pretty cloudy. Rain was inevitable. No one stopped though, we just kept going. About an hour in, it started pouring. 30 of us crammed into a truck, wet and laughing. I wanted to cry looking at all these people who loved us – who cared about Nash. All soaking wet, covered in trash, laughing and smiling. We went back to the parking lot and decided to go out to eat. Some people had to leave though. We needed a group picture first. I flagged down the first car I saw and asked them to take one. We lined up in the rain and the man took the picture. We then, of course, gave him a Nash card. Once we got to the restaurant, we were freezing, and starving. All of us had our Nash Day shirts on. When we were about to leave, a family next to us with small children asked, “What is Team Nash?” We all started explaining. We handed the mother a Nash card. She took one look at smiling Nash and instantaneously started crying and asked me if I was the mother. I said yes. She got up and hugged me. She said, trying to hold back tears, “Well. He is beautiful. I’m so sorry.” Now the whole table was crying. I looked at my friends and this family all crying, and it was then that I realized why everyone showed up. They have been touched by this, by Nash. You can’t look at that picture of him so happy and full of life and hear his story without being touched. It moves people. I love being the mother of this baby boy. This baby boy that has touched so many. My heart was full as we drove back to the cabin. I looked at the ditches we had walked through hours ago in the rain. I looked at the sign as we drove by and smiled. I was driving down Nash’s highway, headed home.