Walker Hayes Shares Graveside Photo as Family Remembers Late Daughter on Anniversary of Her De@th
On the fifth anniversary of his daughter’s death, Walker Hayes is remembering her.
The 43-year-old singer of “You Broke Up with Me” posted a heartbreaking photo on his Instagram on Wednesday in memory of his daughter Oakleigh, who passed away during childbirth in June 2018 after Laney, his wife, ruptured her uterus.In the photo, the singer and his entire family each place a foot on Oakleigh’s gravestone, where a bouquet of purple flowers rest in a brown vase.
Hayes simply captioned the photo, “❤️.”In addition to Oakleigh, Hayes and Laney share six kids, ages 7 to 17. The couple is parents to three daughters — Everly, Loxley, and Lela — and three sons — Beckett, Baylor and Chapel — who regularly appear on Walker’s Instagram. The couple have been married since 2004.
“‘What do I do?’ ” Hayes recalled of his thoughts at the time. “‘When Laney wakes up, how do I tell her? How am I the one to explain, it’s a girl, but you know, she died?’ I knew that was just going to crush Laney.””I just waited,” , recalling those desperate moments when he didn’t know whether he would lose Laney too, along with their newborn daughter. “I really just hoped that this wasn’t going to be the worst day of my life, even though it kind of already was.”
View this post on Instagram
In April, Hayes and his family traveled to Rwanda on a 12-day mission trip. “The trip,” “was an answered prayer. Every day for that entire trip was the best day of my life. “The entourage visited homes without plumbing or electricity, and one day, they helped their hosts haul water from a distant well. Hayes watched in awe as his children didn’t seem to notice the deprivations.
“Their focus was how cool their clothes were, how cool their songs were,” he recalled. “‘How do they balance those baskets on their heads?’ They met friends just like they do here in the U.S. where kids kind of stare at each other for a couple of minutes, and then before you knew it, they were off just playing. We went down to the well, and I looked over, and [9-year-old] Lolly was just lost in a crowd of kids chasing a frog.”
Hayes was touched, at the end of the trip, when his son, Beckett — the most reserved, “camera-shy of the entire bunch” — said “the dancing” when he was asked what he’d miss the most about Rwanda.
“That destroyed me,” Hayes said. “That was proof right there that the trip was an answered prayer — just dragging this cliché family out of our bubble. That was one of the most magnificent moments.”