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Loss from Epilepsy: Shelby finds signs of Clay everywhere

Loss from Epilepsy, SUDEPI am a firm believer in signs, not the type that are physically positioned throughout our daily lives, but those that are spiritually given to us when we need them most.  We need to open our eyes and hearts and allow these “gifts” to aide us and help us.  Since our son Clayton has passed away, I have received many and I have no doubt that he continues to guide us and aide us in our time of need.

Although, before our experience of his hospitalizations and illness, I admit that I wasn’t “watching” or “listening” until one beautiful sign gave me strength – that continues to keep me going today.  I hope that by me sharing this with you today, it will give you a glimpse of how “signs” are real and that they come in the most unexpected forms.  I hope that it will allow you to watch, listen and feel and allow you the peace that comes with the knowledge that you are not alone.


Clay had been hospitalized for about a month and his condition was very grave.  As with any parent (or loved one), my mood was dependent upon the health and well-being of my child; therefore, none of us were in a good place (mentally or spiritually).  On this particular day, I decided to venture to the cafeteria to get lunch, probably in need of a moment away from the current situation.  Although, the “situation” was the possibility of losing my son – so getting away mentally, was not possible.  I remember standing at the deli counter, probably for a very long time, and not really seeing anything in front me – let alone deciding on what to order.  The next moment changed my entire outlook; gave me a mantra to live by and opened my eyes to the signs all around us.

A gentleman behind the counter awoke me from my “unconscious” state.  He didn’t ask me what I wanted to order, but instead said to me, “I can tell that you are having a bad day”.  I am certain that I looked startled and tears filled my eyes as I replied, “yes, my son is having a very bad day.” He looked deep into my eyes as he spoke, smiled and said, “but, you woke up this morning”.  He ended that sentence almost as a question awaiting my reply.  I smiled, for the first time in what seemed like forever and said, “yes, and so did my son”.  It was almost as if a weight had been released.  That simple conversation, from a source I would have never imagined, gave me a gift that would aide my entire outlook.  He proceeded to take my order and still being stunned by what just happened – I thanked him and went back to Clay’s room.

Why do I believe this to be a sign?  Not just because it happened when I needed it most, but by what transpired years later.  You see, Clay spend 5 months in the hospital and we frequented that cafeteria almost daily, but I never saw that wonderful man again…until-


I accepted a position as a Patient Liaison, transitioning home medically fragile children from various hospitals to home.  These families and patients were very much like Clay and us.  I knew in my heart that I could help these families and aide in their journey through our experiences and was given another sign on my first day.

I was at Children’s Hospital, where Clay’s (and our) journey began and decided to grab lunch.  I was nervous and, I am sure, somewhat doubting if I had made the right decision.  I walked up to the counter and there stood the wonderful man that I hadn’t seen in 7 years!  I looked at him and he looked at me and I said, “I am sure that you don’t remember me, but I really need to give you a hug”.  I proceeded to hug this stranger, in the middle of the cafeteria, with a line full of people and tears in my eyes.  I then proceeded to say, “my son, 7 years ago was doing so bad and you changed my life.”  I then said, “do you remember what you said”.  Without hesitation, he replied “you got up this morning” and I replied, “and so did he”.  Through the 5 years that I worked as a liaison, I never saw that wonderful man again.

Signs that matter

I believe that “signs” are put in our path when we need them most.  I can no longer say that Clay got up this morning as a response, but I can say that I did and so did those which I love (especially the four other beautiful souls that I am blessed to have as children).  Look for signs, when you need them most, or in your daily travels.  I will end this post, as always, by simply saying, “Epilepsy will not win”, for my Clay is always with me and letting me know in beautiful ways.

Let Shelby know if you have had a similar experience in the comments below.

Or, submit your personal story to Living Well With Epilepsy today.

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.

4 Responses

  1. Wanda Redgate
    | Reply

    Loved this article Shelby, I too am a firm believer in signs. I get them all the time from my Mom that passed away almost 2 years ago. I know it is her and getting them has gotten me through the hard times especially when I’m missing her the most. I’m so sorry for the loss of your Son. It is so nice to know that you too are a believer and you see the signs that he is sending to you.

    Keep watching and believing

    • Shelby
      | Reply

      Wanda- thank you for your reply to my latest blog post. Please know that my heart goes out to you for the loss of your mother, but I am so happy to hear that she has given you “signs” – just like my son has given to me! If there is anything in particular that you wish for me to write on in the future, please do not hesitate to let me know.
      All the best – I will always watch and believe!

  2. Madison
    | Reply

    Hello my name is Madison and I am a student in the Developmental Services Worker program at Confederation College. I just wanted to say that I enjoyed reading your post and that I am very inspired from it. I really like how you talked about signs and how much they can make a difference, sometimes the smallest things can truly make the biggest difference. That one statement the gentlemen made was very powerful and got me to take a moment to be grateful for the simple things in life so I can only imagine how it made you feel. Your son sounded like he was a very strong boy and I am very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. Shelby
    | Reply

    Madison- thank you for your reply to my latest blog post. I am so happy to hear that you found inspiration in it’s content – it honestly warms my heart when I hear that what I write (and live) makes a difference. I always try to “journal” what inspires me and gives me strength, even through loss. If there is anything in particular that you wish for me to write on in the future, please do not hesitate to let me know.

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