On May 2, 1997 our son Clayton was tragically killed. He was hit by a truck on one of the busiest streets in Cape Girardeau. Here is the story as best as I can remember it. . .
Clayton was only seven years old, born December 27, 1989. He had always been an active child, but very loving and caring. He was put on a drug called Luvox by a child psychiatrist to treat his diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in April of '96. This new medication was supposed to treat his "anxiety", and almost immediately we began to see a change in him. It was almost as if someone had 'unlocked his door'. Clayton opened up and began talking in his therapy sessions, he began reading out loud in school and Sunday school classrooms both, he crushed a bird egg just for fun, he never stopped talking, he stayed up all night, he began getting into trouble at school. Clayton became a true ADHD child when before he had held so much back because of his "anxiety".
As his mother, I had felt for a long time that Clayton was Bipolar, not ADHD. His mood swings were so severe, he would be extremely happy and then bottom out to depression, even wanting to kill himself. So naturally, when he opened up and was constantly happy I just took the bad with the good and went with the flow.
On May first 1997, Clayton was playing T-ball in our backyard. He was confident of his skills and was ready to begin playing on his first T-ball team. After much practice, he was so confident and ready he must of thought he could do this on his own.
Trae, Clayton's older brother, came into the house and told me he had seen Clayton across the street with his baseball bat and nunchucks. It was getting dark and I told Trae that it must of been someone else because Clayton was afraid of the dark, and he would never cross the street without one of his parents with him. I checked the backyard and in his room - he wasn't there. I called to his dad, Chuck, who was in the bathroom and he hadn't seen him. We began our search . . .
I walked the neighborhood sure that Clayton was up in a tree playing, something he loved to do. Chuck, Trae, and a friend of ours, Steve, started across the street to our high school campus and began yelling for Clayton. I remained calm knowing that Clayton just wouldn't take off, especially in the dark, and alone.
I called Becky, Clayton's behavior aide, and she came right over. She and I continued to walk the street as Chuck and the others drove around the neighborhood looking for Clayton. I heard sirens in the near distance, and a man stopped in front of our house and said a little boy had been hit by a car on Broadway just a few blocks away, and they had taken him to the hospital. I began to shake and scream "NO, NO, NO, not my baby !!!" Becky tried to calm me, but I knew it was Clayton, and . . . it was!
Clayton died the next morning at 6:47 AM. They unhooked his life-support because his little brain was swelling so quickly they couldn't keep it drained. He passed from our arms into the hands of Jesus with the guidance of my words . . . "Take Jesus' hand baby, your troubles are over now, no more pain, no more fighting, all is well - you are my darling angel, we will miss you but you will be okay now . . . "
We miss Clayton so much, our hearts our broken without his beautiful face to brighten our days. We are healing. His older brother Trae, and little brother, Burt are learning a very hard lesson about death. Just the same year they lost a grandfather, a brother, and an uncle whom they adored, but we live our lives 'coping'.
Luvox did some wonderful things for our Clayton, but I realize now that he had been misdiagnosed. Clayton was bipolar and the Luvox had sent him into a full blown manic state. He felt he could do anything, including crossing the busiest street in Cape Girardeau to get to our city park to play baseball, in the dark (which he feared), alone, all alone.
We weren't warned about the effect this antidepressant could have on a child who was bipolar because no one would ever properly diagnose Clayton. Chuck and I kept ourselves well informed about all medications that Clayton was put on, but without a correct diagnosis, we had no clue what we were in for.
We were always exhausted from holding a system accountable to ensure Clayton was getting the services he so badly needed.
Anyway, my point is, that parents live with their children. Imagine someone else telling you that you don't know what is best for your child. Parents of children with a serious emotional disorder (SED) are the best source of information there is, and also a good source of guidance for proper techniques in coping and effectively assisting their children. They are the ones who feel the heartache when they watch their child in a rage, or weeping uncontrollably. They see and feel the need for help 24 hours a day, and support them. The true professionals are the parents of these children and they are right there, waiting to be heard.