Four years ago, on June 6, 2018, Walker Hayes and his wife Laney mourned the loss of their seventh daughter Oakleigh Klover Hayes, who tragically passed away the same day she was born. Hayes spoke about the somber anniversary on social media, with a picture of his wife holding a little girl named Oakley.
“There’s so much redemption in this picture can’t stand it,” Hayes captioned the photo. “Our Oakleigh is with Jesus but this Oakley and her parents have been the arms of the Lord firmly wrapped around our entire family. There were days I wondered if Laney would ever hold a baby and smile again. Today is our Oakleigh’s 4th birthday and while we wish were celebrating with her on this earth, we praise God for the eternal impact she’s had on us and the world! Hallelujah.”
There’s so much redemption in this picture can’t stand it😭😭 Our Oakleigh is with Jesus but this Oakley and her parents…
The 42-year-old has chosen, sometimes time and time again, to choose laughter, even amid experiencing such deep, deep sorrow.
“Well let’s get down to it: Laney and I have experienced our share of tragedy,” Hayes told Nashville Lifestyles. “I mean, look, we’ve lost a kid. And I don’t wanna size people up and be like, ‘What’s the worst thing that’s happened to you in your life? Oh, mine’s worse.’ All I’m saying is that Laney and I have been taught by tragedy how much control we don’t have over this life, and if you sit and think about it, you will live in fear.
“But I choose laughter,” he continues. “I love to laugh, and I don’t know anything I love more than to laugh. It probably ties with the gift of music to me, and you know what? You’ve got to laugh at yourself. You’ve gotta laugh at each other. You’ve gotta laugh at somebody laughing at you, and if you don’t, you’re gonna be pretty miserable here on earth, because life isn’t that funny all the time.”
Hayes also found solace in his growing Christian faith while mourning the loss of Oakleigh, something he still clings to today.
“Honestly, I don’t care about sharing anything else,” Hayes told Everything Nash. “To be quite frank with you, I don’t think there’s anything else worth sharing than what Jesus has done with me and the redemption I’ve experienced here on earth, and will continue to experience from knowing Him. That’s it. That’s why I wanna share my story.”
Hayes is currently enjoying a Top 5 single with “AA,” from his latest Country Stuff the Album. He has plenty of shows on the calendar this summer, before he kicks off his headlining Glad You’re Here Tour this fall. Find music and tour dates at WalkerHayes.com.