Behind Walker Hayes’ up-tempo hits, there is a father who was once faced with the unimaginable – losing a child.
It’s been four years since the GRAMMY nominated artist and wife Laney lost their daughter Oakleigh Klover Hayes on the same day she was born. To honor his little girl on what was supposed to be her 4th birthday, Hayes took to social media to share a sweet tribute.
“There’s so much redemption in this picture can’t stand it,” the hitmaker wrote alongside a photo of his wife embracing a toddler named Oakley. “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.”
Hayes’ vulnerability resonated with several members of his devoted community, as many rushed to the comment section to send their condolences and birthday wishes to heaven.
“Happy heavenly birthday baby girly. You and Laney are just incredible. You have built such a beautiful life❤️,” shared artistRaelynn. “Happy heavenly birthday to your sweet angel. Laney and you have many reasons to smile. May the Lord watch over your baby girl till y’all see her again.❤️” said a fan.
The multi-platinum artist and his wife heard the news that their daughter didn’t make it on the morning of June 6, 2018. Hayes told People that his wife had several concerning symptoms during childbirth and had to undergo emergency surgery.
While trying to wrap their head around the unthinkable – they turned to support groups, friends, and family.
“Laney and I have cried a lot,” Hayes shared with the outlet. “But one thing that makes me the happiest is how much love there has been around us. We’ve had the most remarkable questions answered and advice given from people around our neighborhood and in meet-and-greet lines.”
Following the devastating tragedy, Hayes decided to share his story through music to help others in similar situations. The hitmaker penned an unreleased track called “Six On Earth, One In Heaven,” a tear-jerking ballad that describes his grieving journey.
“It’s called ‘Six On Earth, One In Heaven,’ and it’s about me meeting someone who had experienced the same thing, and it is really centered on the fact that when some tragedy occurs to you, you’re in a club,” Hayes exclusively revealed to Music Mayhem. “You don’t want to be a member of that club, but you’re so grateful to meet someone else who is in that club, who has experienced that loss because you feel less alone.”
The breakout star told the publication that he was hoping to drop the single on Oakleigh’s 4th birthday. The moving melody has not been released yet, and no additional information has been shared about the sentimental single.
While staying optimistic with his tight-knit family, the country crooner will be hitting multiple music festivals this summer and will be embarking on his headlining Glad You’re Here Tour in the fall with Parmalee. Hayes is set to kick off his run on September 29 in Pennsylvania and will wrap in November.