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Lost Birthdays Remembered

During the past weekend a special birthday occurred, but it wasn’t celebrated.

The 17th birthday of Clayton Matthew Bright, our sweet baby boy, passed without cake or balloons. We were fortunate to have had him for five days on this earth, yet the feelings of loss are still just as sharp even after so many years.

Watching kids on playground equipment always makes me think of our precious baby. I think he would have liked the slide. (photo by Joe Don Stevens)

It’s not the birthdays that make me sad. For me it’s the mundane parts of day to day living that tug at my heart, like buying school supplies or gathering around a holiday table. No matter how much time passes, it always seems there is a face missing from the scene. The amazing image of an abandoned slide in my mind  reflects the sense of loss that so many parents feel when they return home from the hospital with empty arms.

If you know of someone who has lost a baby or child, please don’t tell them that time will heal all wounds.  I can’t even count the number of times well meaning people have told us that. You should know  it’s an outright lie. It is certainly true for someone who has lost a parent or grandparent. I miss my mom, dad, and grandparents, but over time the sadness has been replaced with fond memories of good times we shared as family.

Losing our son, Clayton, is so very different. With a child it’s the events and milestones that could have been, should have been, but will never be. The missing piece of our family and the “what if” haunts me every day.

It took me fifteen years before I was able to write about our special baby. GONE NEVER FORGOTTEN is an eBook about finding the strength to keep going after the devastating loss of a child. It contains Bible verses, beautiful poems relating to grief by award winning poet Marianne McNeil Logan and free verse by my friend Nell Lindenmeyer. The book is available in a variety of eBook formats at Plans are in the works for a bound book as well. I’ll post information on this website when it’s available.

To all of you who have lost a child, I’m sending out a hug and a prayer. I know it’s a hurt and a hole in your heart that never goes away. And it’s okay.

You’ll learn to make peace with the pain and you’ll smile again. I promise.


A book of hope and healing for families suffering from the loss of a baby. ISBN: 9781465958730 $4.99 exclusively at smashwords in a variety of formats.