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Epilepsy Blog Relay™: From a Grieving Parent on Graduation Day

shelby graduationThis post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™ which will run from June 1 through June 30. Follow along and add comments to posts that inspire you!

Shelby’s Story

I always end my blog posts by stating, “Epilepsy will not win”; although, on the day of what would be Clay’s high school graduation this June, Epilepsy will win (at least on that particular day). Clay will not be seated with his classmates in a cap and gown. He will not be grinning, that priceless grin, as he is surrounded by his lifelong friends. He will not be throwing his cap in pure joy, as they announce the graduating class of 2016, and we (his family) will not be crying tears of joy. We, instead, will be imagining what could have been.


There are a multitude of graduation ceremonies that will transpire this time of year (kindergarten, elementary, middle school, high school and college). All are events which bring mixed emotions, as they symbolize an end of an era in our childrens’ lives. They are one step closer to “letting go” and, as parents, our thoughts are flooded with memories of their younger years – “where did the time go”, we say? Though, we are excited for what their future will hold and imagine those coming memories. But, for the parents who have lost a child, the thoughts of this upcoming day (and the day itself) – there are no words to express the pain.

A grieving parent

As I sat to write my blog for this month and come up with an idea, there was nothing more that I wanted than to covey my thoughts on upcoming graduation events for the parents (and family members) which are going through grief, just as I and my family are experiencing. My heart goes out to the bereaved parents, for which graduations will never occur, as I am “that parent”, as well. I have found with grief that the anticipation of an event is sometimes worse than the actual day. I am hoping for this to be the case. I will remember that it is a date on a calendar – one day. I will get through this, just like the other milestones that didn’t occur. Our family will survive, and our son Clay, will live on through us and those whose lives which he touched. I will cry the day of graduation and hug our other children a little tighter than usual. I am certain that I will have a lump in my throat, a knot in my stomach and, I am certain, will clutch my “Clayton necklace” a little tighter that day. I will imagine what could have been and how unbelievably sad it is that I (and my family) have to imagine all of these events. “I” am only 1 of so many parents, sadly, who will be doing the same. Remember those graduates that aren’t able to experience this momentous event – and their families who wish that they could.


Although, as sad of a day as it will be, I will wait for photographs to appear on social media the day of graduation. I, honestly, cannot wait to see them. The children and families who were a part of Clay’s life and continue to be a part of ours. I will not be “looking” for my son in the crowd, I will be imagining him there celebrating. I have no doubt that he will be looking down with his incredible grin and his memory will live on with each member of his graduating class that was privileged to be a part of his life.


…and the day after graduation, “Epilepsy will not win” because his memory and spirit will live on. My family and I will have the joy of celebrating our other childrens’ graduations and, I have no doubt, that he will be right by our side in spirit at those events.

NEXT UP: Be sure to check out the next post tomorrow at https://livingwellwithepilepsy.com for more on Epilepsy Awareness. For the full schedule of bloggers visit livingwellwithepilepsy.com.

DON’T MISS IT: Don’t miss your chance to connect with bloggers on the #LivingWellChat on June 30 at 7PM ET.

Follow Shelby McGrath Myers:
Shelby McGrath Myers is the mother to 5 wonderful children – one of whom became an angel due to Epilepsy in Aug 2012. She's founder of Clayton’s Hope Org. Based in USA.

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