'We know the pain of our own suffering as his family, and we know there are hundreds of other people here in our community suffering as addicts or as loved ones to them.'
A heartbroken Louisiana mother is on a mission to make sure her son's death wouldn't be in vain. In an obituary published by the Williams Funeral Home earlier this month, Christy Couvillier spoke candidly about her son Hunter Lee Clemons' fatal overdose and struggles with drug addiction. According to CBS affiliate KLFY, Hunter passed away on Thursday, February 10, 2022, at the age of 22 after a long battle with addiction. "Hunter had a heart of gold; anyone from his childhood or adult life could confirm. He was kind, funny, charismatic, selfless, loyal and always tried to find the positive in any situation," she wrote.
"In turn, doing his best to block out the negatives, which is where his addiction came into play. Drugs offered Hunter an escape from his demons he faced throughout his life. On July 23, 2019, he overdosed on heroin laced with fentanyl and was on life support for four days before he woke up. After being released from the hospital, Hunter went and completed drug rehab and decided to start a new life back in Jacksonville, Florida," Couvillier revealed. According to the grieving mother, Hunter thrived after moving to Florida.
"He started a job as a valve tech at Flotech, Inc and went fishing every chance he got. He loved spending his days outside on the water or with his roommates," she wrote. Couvillier explained that she never doubted that she would put the circumstances of her son's death in his obituary. "His family would like to speak the truth about his death. Silence would mean Hunter's death was in vain, but if one person's life is saved by his story, we would tell it a million more times. We know the pain of his suffering," she explained.
"We know the pain of our own suffering as his family, and we know there are hundreds of other people here in our community suffering as addicts or as loved ones to them," Couvillier continued. "Speaking the truths (no matter the circumstances) surrounding the epidemic of drug use may be the difference between life and death for someone. In honor of Hunter's life, we ask that truth be spread in regards to this epidemic and awareness be raised." Speaking to KLFY, Couvillier said she wasn't aware Hunter had started using drugs again prior to his death.
She said that her son took a pill on the morning of February 10 "when he got up for work, started to not feel well, dropped his lunch on the floor and went to sleep face down in his bed, and never woke up." He was found face down on his bed by his roommate several hours later. "Even if you're just someone who is a social drug user, it just takes one time," she told the outlet. "If you're not gonna stop using, you have got to start testing your drugs and save your life until you are ready to get clean."
According to the obituary, "Hunter is survived by his mother, Christy Couvillier and her husband, Jeremy Sonnier, Curt Couviller (step-father), Johnny Clemons (biological father), Ashlynn Clemons (sister), Elijah Couvillier (brother), Brooklyn Clemons (sister), grandparents Jerry & Vickie Shanks, Larry & Ann Couvillier, Dorothy Nutt, and Richard & Dolores Demmin. He is also survived by numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, friends and recovering members of Lafayette." Couvillier's brutally honest obituary made a profound impact on those who came across it, especially those who've struggled with drug abuse personally or seen their loved ones go through it.
"Thank you for your transparent, honest and loving obituary. I have been sober for almost 10 years. Addiction is a horrible disease that is with you every second of every day. Although I do not know the pain of losing a child to this disease, I have lost many loved ones. My sponsee lost her battle just before her 20th birthday (also due to fentanyl-laced heroin). Her mother also shared her struggle with addiction that ultimately claimed her life in her obituary. I will be praying for strength and healing for your family and loved ones. Again, thank you for sharing. I know Hunter’s story has touched so many lives," wrote someone named Salina. "
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.