Teen's Brutally Honest Obituary Went Viral For A Tragic Reason

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 A Touching Lesson About Addiction
Heartbreak, Self

Addiction is real.

Usually obituaries are to tell people of someone's passing. Maybe there's a small blurb about what this person did and who they left behind. But one obituary is going viral for giving a touching message about addiction.

Clay William Shephard, a 22-year-old resident in North Carolina, passed away due to a drug overdose. His family wrote an obituary describing his struggles with a very important lesson.

"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," explains the obituary.

So what does this family want everyone to learn from Clay's struggle? Never be afraid to seek help, and for parents to be there for their children.

"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."

It's a very needed message since there are stigmas against addiction that makes people who struggle with it try to hide it. Many people also don't fully understand that it's a disease and don't react accordingly.

You can find the full obituary below: 

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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