When 22-year-old Clay Shepard’s obituary went viral, it not only touched the hearts of millions because it was tragic, but because his family used the forum as an opportunity to spread awareness around a big problem. Drug abuse is ravaging states across America including Ohio, Florida, and Texas. And if people don’t know what to do, more innocents will become consumed by a life of drugs and crime.
The young man’s obituary reminds people to never be afraid to ask for help. But it also encourages families to love radically and do everything they can to help people overcome drug and alcohol addiction.
See the obituary, which described Clay’s death in an uncommon way, and how the words have gone viral to inspire millions to live a better life…
The family wants their son’s obituary to bring people out of the depths of drug abuse. “Even when the surface is calm, the water may be turbulent underneath.”
“We write this obituary in hope that it may provide an insight to those that need to change their behavior one night at a time.”
This family hopes that the loss of their son can help other families before they experience the same pain and suffering.
Our charismatic and beautiful son and brother died Sunday morning from a drug overdose. Clay was the youngest of four children, raised in a loving home in Apex with two brothers and one sister. Outwardly Clay looked like he had it all: Intelligence, confidence, athletic ability, height, beautiful blue eyes, broad smile, fantastic wit, and the ability to engage and forge a relationship with anyone. Inwardly Clay was sensitive and had struggles that he hid well from his close and clannish family.We loved Clay with all of our hearts, but we now know that was not enough to shield him from the world. This note isn’t an attempt to assign blame for Clay’s death. It’s not to vent our anger and frustration at a world where drugs can be ordered and delivered through the internet. We write this obituary in hope that it may provide an insight to those that need to change their behavior one night at a time.
Clay was a solid student, decent athlete, and a very likeable kid. With his seemingly endless positive traits, he had the potential to be anything from a captivating politician to a brilliant engineer, but drugs began to creep into Clay’s life while he was in high school. As trouble hit, his father stepped in and forged an incredible bond with Clay. Although Clay could never be completely honest about the trouble he was in, his love and respect for his father became a lifeline over the last few years. He successfully completed drug rehab several times, but the craving that comes from true addiction was more than he could overcome.
While we always felt we had some grip on Clay’s issues, his ability to hide and disguise his addiction proved superior to our parental (and sibling) sixth sense. The worry that we have felt watching Clay struggle, has been replaced by a deep feeling of loss that now exists knowing we will never see his smiling face again. Despite these troubles, we can smile knowing that the last communication we had with Clay was a text and answer between mother and son to say “I love you”, just as it should be.
To all children, this note is a simple reminder that there are people who love you, with everything they have and no matter what you do – don’t be too afraid/ashamed/scared, too anything, to ask for help. To all parents, pay attention to your children and the world that revolves around them – even when the surface is calm, the water may be turbulent just beneath. Clay’s struggles have ended. He is finally at peace. We will miss his keen sense of humor, impersonations, cooking, plant advice and rhythm on the dance floor.
Goodbye Clay, we love you and miss you dearly.
Mom & Dad, Cole, Wade & Jess, Jean & Lucas
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