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One Family’s Wish to Raise Drug Awareness

August 3, 2011

Jeff with his three children: Jagger, 9, Talyn, 5 and Cash, 3.

On Friday, July 22, 2011, Jeff Hamill, a young, attractive, and highly intelligent young man left this world at his own hands after years of battling drug addiction. Jeff was born on October 27th , 1975. He was the son of Shelby Hamill of Rattan Oklahoma and the father of Jagger Hamill, age 9, Talyn Hamill, age 5 and Cash Hamill, age 3, all of Hugo, Oklahoma. He was an accomplished drummer, very charismatic, a wonderful son and an attentive father.

Jeff’s children were the joy of his life. He took to fatherhood like a fish to water. His parental instincts were as strong as those typically credited only to Mothers. From the very moment of the birth of his first son, Jeff jumped in wholeheartedly, doing for his children what many Dad’s simply can’t bring themselves’ to do (changing diapers, etc). The love Jeff had for his children brought joy to all that had the opportunity to witness the interactions between them.

Now, all that is left are memories and so many unanswered questions, three beautiful children whose lives will be changed forever, their Mother left to try to explain and pick up the pieces, his father devastated at the loss of his only child, his friends in shock…no chance for goodbyes, no answers. We all wonder “How or Why could a young man so full of life and potential, a man who loved his children more than words could express, and who was blessed with a great family and so many friends end up as he did?

Jeff’s battle with drugs began around 2004. He was happily married, had a great job, and a beautiful 2 year old son. Jeff’s charismatic quality drew people to him and everyone that met him wanted to be his friend. Jeff’s circle of friends was non-ending and unfortunately, there were some that engaged in recreational drug use. In today’s society, most everyone who reads this has been affected by drugs in one way or another. No one suffering from addiction was born with the illness. And everyone’s reasoning behind their choice to use drugs is as varied as the drugs themselves. Everyone has a choice and they can not blame anyone else for the decisions they make.

Jeff had a choice and made the wrong one. Our family found out the hard way how difficult it is to overcome addiction. Addiction lends itself to even more bad choices. Jeff’s addiction led to choices that resulted in the loss of his job, engagement in illegal activities to fund his addiction, jail, divorce, an inability to be the wonderful father, son and friend that he genuinely was, and ultimately, the loss of his own life.

Over that seven year period, Jeff was “clean” (not using drugs) on numerous occasions, sometimes as long as two years at a time. He found sobriety sometimes on his own and other times through rehab. Jeff was given many chances to beat this illness and many opportunities to rebuild his life. What we learned through this experience is that this illness is chronic….it is a daily battle.

In Jeff’s case, as may be the case for many others, drugs became a means of coping with hard situations in life. Drugs are not the answer. Nothing good will ever come from drug use. And when the effects of the drugs diminish, the reality is that nothing else has changed.

I pray for the support of the community for those suffering from this illness. Do not label people. Do not give up on them. Recognize drug addiction for what it is. An illness. If you know someone who is battling drugs, reach out to them and offer your help and support. If you are suffering yourself, please seek help. There are resources in your community to help you. Your life has value and meaning. For your family, your friends, or someone, you are the world.

Drug addiction hurts so many people and is obviously a very difficult thing to overcome. But it can happen. People can and do get well. If you don’t use drugs, don’t ever start. We pray that Jeff’s story will help other families so that they hopefully never have to experience such tragedy. We love you and miss you Jeff and will keep your memory in our hearts forever.

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