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Family's Heartbreaking Obituary For Son Who Died Of Drug Overdose Goes Viral

| by Brendan Kelly
Clay Shepard.Clay Shepard.

A young man’s honest and heartbreaking obituary written by his parents after he died from a drug overdose has gone viral.

Clay Shepard, 22, of Apex, North Carolina died on May 17, 2015, of a drug overdose after struggling with addiction. His parents wrote a heartbreaking obituary that went into great detail about his struggles to warn others who may be dealing with addiction.

“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,” Clay’s parents wrote. “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.”

The heartbroken parents say the point of detailing their son’s addiction is not to assign blame for his death, but to encourage others to pay attention to their children if they think they could be struggling, and to encourage addicts to think about the people who love them and get help.

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The obituary says that Clay was “a solid student, decent athlete, and a very likable kid.” It reveals that Clay completed rehab for drug abuse multiple times, but that he was unable to overcome in the end.

"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 parents wrote. “The worry that we have felt watching Clay struggle, has been replaced by a deep feeling of loss that now exists knowing we will never see his smiling face again."

Read the touching 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"

Sources: CNY CentralFox 4Legacy.com / Photo credit: Fox 4