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And Every Parent Should Read.


Conner Luby died in a car crash.

As I wrote that line in the lobby of a hotel near the Arizona State campus a one year old boy turned the corner before his dad showed up.

We both smiled and he wobbled along when his father caught up.

The dad and I talk about how the years speed by. My sons are in their twenties; he’s one year in and agrees it’s already going fast.

What’s the timeline look like to someone who loses their son?

Kevin Luby searches for answers in A Life Short And Loud: And The Long Road Back.

The book he laid down is a writer’s lesson of perseverance. I don’t know how he did it.

This reviewer began by asking a silent question, one every parent will ask after finishing A Short Life: what would I do in the same circumstances?

What do you do if one of the lights in your life went out?

Suck it up and bury the pain? Use death as a metaphor the rest of your life instead of confronting your feelings?

Writers infuse otherwise normal events with the depth of their pain, but how often does that work? The question comes up when their stories go off the tracks.

The results are either unreadable, or a compelling puzzle.

Kevin Luby delivers a story both readable and compelling, and so close to home it’s frightening.

We live in the same town. We met in his neighbor’s backyard.

Conner Luby played on the same fields as my kids, the fields I drive past today and see young kids and their parents engaged in the same sports.

Kevin opens up for readers to see themselves in his family’s bubble. A Life Short And Loud shows how to deal with the sort of loss no one prepares for.

Could any of us work through the grief he and his family felt?

While it isn’t a how-to book, A Life Short And Loud reveals their journey with signs of healing.

Instead of shutting the door on one phase of his life, of leaving his wife and daughter for the comfort of anonymity in a new crowd, Luby held himself together enough to move through the stages of grief with their help.

He manned-up the way good men do. It’s never perfect except for the effort.

Deciding to work it out with loved ones instead of drifting, and letting them drift in his wake, is the fight of all fights.

Writing about the experience is one of the best ways of dealing. It’s the writers’ way.

The more you write it out, the better you get at it, and the worse you feel for getting it right.

A Life Short And Loud gets it right.

Kevin Luby worked it out, still works it out, and will do it the rest of his life.

He gets it right the same way his wife did when she said Conner’s passing won’t be their last memory as a couple before they go separate ways. They have each other, and their daughter, to lean on.

The love they share is the strength that holds them together.¬†Every parent applauds their will. Every mom needs to remember Jane Luby’s promise.

Read A Life Short And Loud: And The Long Road Back to feel their journey, then ask yourself what you’d do?


Conner Luby








About David Gillaspie


  1. Hi, not sure if this correction has been pointed out yet but his name is spelled Conner. Beautiful article!

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Thank you, Rachel. I depend on close readers like you.

      Conner and the Luby family made an important statement: Make a lasting difference for each other and love one another as much as you can.

      I plan on following the plan with my wife and sons. It’s the only way.

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