This long road of grief has led me to many dark places. I have felt alone, separated from my husband, my family, even Crue. When life got hard pre-Nash, I prayed about it. I “gave it all to Jesus”, as some would say. I think that’s the first time I have ever used that phrase, but that is exactly what I did. The soul crushing, heart stopping, gut wrenching emotions that go with losing a child could not be healed for me by “giving it all to Jesus”. Jesus wasn’t going through this. I was. Or was He? Not only did I feel no connection to God, but I also felt guilt if I was to believe. My child was literally ripped from my life and I’m supposed to find comfort that he is with God? Should I feel better knowing that? It felt unfair to think that way…like, my baby died but God has a plan. To me, it felt like ignoring what I was going through and pretending for my own sake that he was happy and in heaven. These last couple months I have felt this pull in my life, this pull to reconnect to the faith I once had. If you think losing a child is hard, try doing it without faith. The problem is, I can’t just make myself believe for my own mind’s sake, I needed to truly believe and I just didn’t have that same naive mindset I did before. It’s been almost two years since I have prayed. Two years since I have talked with someone I once talked with multiple times a day. So, I just waited, hoping faith would find its way back to me, and it did. At first it was small things. I would look at Crue and know he was meant to be here. I would look at him not only as my child, but a gift. I can’t explain it.As most know, I have a support system most would only dream about. Am I just lucky? Is it pure fate that I have some of the best friends and family someone could have? Is it fate that I drove to a parking lot in some random business to write this, and a car with a” Team Nash” sticker is staring me in the face. Then one day I sat down to watch the movie, “Unconditional”. First, let me say this is not a plug for that movie. It was awful, bad acting and all. The message though, I received loud and clear. See, months before I finally made an appointment to see Wes, the pastor who did Nash’s funeral. I had heard from friends and family, that on a couple different occasions he had asked how I was and given the message that he was here to talk anytime I needed him. I finally had questions, hard questions that I needed answered. As I sat across from him, the first words out of my mouth were, ” I’m afraid you won’t have answers for the questions I have.” He looked at me and smiled and said, “Shelly, I may not.” Well, he was honest. That was a good start. My three main questions in the two hours we talked were, “is there a God?” “Could he have prevented Nashs death?” And, “am I going to hell because I have lost my faith?” He never gave me his personal opinion, no matter how badly I wanted it. He always read passages from the bible and explained what it was saying in reference to what I was asking. In short, yes, there is a God, but he can’t tell me that. That’s something I have to come to on my own. Yes, he could have prevented Nash’s death, but we don’t have the answers as to why he didn’t. We are not supposed to have those answers….. and about Hell, well, no answer as well. The bible can be interpreted in so many ways,and being around Wes, someone who is full of faith, well it feels good, for lack of a better adjective. To see someone who whole heartedly believed my baby is with God, well it brought me a great deal of comfort. It was a great conversation with a lot of tears on my part. I think what stuck with me the most for some reason was not knowing if I was going to hell. Thinking I may, made me rethink the loving God I once knew. Has my whole life of faith not mattered because my last two years of doubt? I wish I could tell you everything we talked about because although I left with more questions then answers, I felt relief. So, back to the movie. The pivotal moment that set the next 48 hours on fire for me. The movie was about a girl who lost her husband and with that, her faith as well. She reconnected with a friend who helped her see the light, no pun intended. The phrase that stuck with me was when her friend told her, “God is patient. He will be there when you are ready.” I was holding Crue and just started balling. I looked down and he looked up at me smiling. A smile that seemed to say, there you are momma. Those words resonated with me. He will be there when I’m ready. At the end of the movie based on true events, the husband had been given $2 bills as an act of kindness and the day he died he had given it to someone with a message that eventually got back to his wife. She then saw the bills everywhere. I thought about my Nash and all the signs he had given me. The rainbows, the random acts of kindness, the pull to see Wes, the family and friends that have rallied behind us and for the first time, without forcing myself to feel it, I felt God in all of these things. Like a trail of breadcrumbs leading me back to him. I literally sat Crue down, got on me knees and lifted my hands in the air and cried. Now for someone who yes, always believed in God I had never been compelled to do something like that, and you know what? It felt good! I felt this relief flush over me. It was as if my eyes were seeing clear for the first time, like I knew some secret no one else did. The next day Todd, Crue and I went out to eat. I said nothing to Todd about the night before, but I felt different. We were at a Chinese restaurant and the waitresses couldn’t get enough of Crue. They gave him a fortune cookie that he played with the whole meal. It was storming out something fierce and Crue was blissfully unaware, playing with his cookie. The waitresses literally would not leave the table. They were enamored by Crue. At the end of our meal, we did what we always did and opened our cookies. Mine said, “better days are upon you”. I opened Crue’s and his said, “your charm does not go unnoticed by the Angels”. Chills went up and down me. As we ran to the car in the rain leaving behind a large tip and a Nash card I felt amazed by how easy it was to see God in things when you just opened your heart to it. Once we were home, the rain had finally stopped and my phone starting dinging like crazy. All Facebook notifications. When I looked, it was people posting the multiple rainbows they were seeing. Our local news anchor David Custer posted about it on Facebook and private messaged me, that Nash was making his presence known everywhere tonight. I laid on the kitchen floor with Crue playing, and glanced over to our back door in hopes of a rainbow sighting, what I saw was the most beautiful sky I had ever seen, casting a glow over our back porch, and Crue and I. I can’t explain it. I didn’t just believe again, I felt stronger about God then I had ever before. The next day, Todd and I went on a rare date night-dinner and a movie. I got to pick the movie and I had been wanting to see the new Jennifer Gardner movie, “Miracles from Heaven”. The movie was based on true events about a mother whose child had become deathly ill. It went on to show her struggle with her own loss of faith, God and the people around her. I resonated with her character more then I ever thought possible. Her questions were my questions. Her frustrations were the same as mine. If you don’t want to know how the movie ends, stop reading here. In the end, her daughter who was dying from an intestinal disease, ended up falling three stories down a hallowed out tree to what should have been her death. She didn’t die though, she lived and not only did she live, she had been completely cured. She told her parents she had gone to Heaven and God had told her she would return to her parents healed. Her mother (Jennifer Gardner) looked at her and said, ” I’m afraid of what people may think if you tell them this story.” The daughter replied, “some won’t believe me Mom, but they will get there when they get there”. I felt the same emotion Jennifer Gardener’s character expressed with her daughter as she repeated those words back to her.I have lost the most precious part of my family. It killed any innocence or preconceived notions of what I thought this life was. I have been beaten down, brought to my knees by the weight of this burden, this cross to bear. I lost my faith. I lost my way,but I got where I needed to be. I may have taken the long way around,but I got there when I got there, and God was there waiting for me.