(CNN) – An Ohio family is dealing with heroin in a way they never could have imagined. What happened to them is something some people wouldn’t want to talk about publicly — but their explanation of what happened began with a notice they put in the local paper.
Alex Hesse was born with a big family, and big dreams.
“He was so smart,” Hesse’s mother, Penny Hesse said. Nobody could beat him on the golf course. Nobody could beat him on the baseball field. Nobody could beat him on the football field. He was the best.”
But Alex Hesse was changed by something his parents describe as pure evil.
“It was a demon. It was heroin and it took over his life,” Penny Hesse said.
“It doesn’t take more than one time with heroin. One time. You take it and you’re hooked,” Hesse’s father, Rick Hesse said.
Heroin took Penny and Rick Hesse’s son’s life.
“Nobody wanted more than him to get better and it took over and made him a different person,” Penny Hesse said.
Now, Alex Hesse’s family is preparing for his funeral. His life flashes before their eyes as they look dozens of pictures.
The Hesse family isn’t keeping quiet about how Alex died — taking the unusual step of mentioning it as part of his obituary — published in the paper. That obituary was written by his brother and sister.
“His brother Andrew and sister Allie wrote his obituary and felt it necessary to let other people know this drug kills,” Penny Hesse said.
Alex Hesse’s obituary reads, in part: “Hopefully by making more people aware of Alex’s struggle, we can shed some light on this devastating issue.”
“It is an epidemic. It’s worse than the plague and it’s wiping out an entire generation,” Penny Hesse said.
“I don’t know how we’re going to stop this, but we need to — somehow, some way to stop this,” Rick Hesse said.
Alex Hesse was jailed on drug charges recently, and his mother went to court to ask that he stay there because she felt he would be safer behind bars until he could receive treatment. He was released due to overcrowding.
“In life, one little decision can make a huge impact on not just you but also those that love and care for you. Alex had a loving and supporting family and had everything a young man could want. But drugs took ahold of his life, changed him, and destroyed so much of the hope and promise in his future. You may ask why we are sharing this personal part of Alex’s life. Hopefully by making more people aware of Alex’s struggle, we can shed some light on this devastating issue and work to fix a very big problem in our community. This was a wonderful life, full of hope and promise, ended far too short. If his story can help one person not make the same mistakes that Alex did, save one family from losing a loved one far too young, then sharing this tragedy will be worth it and help to add meaning to a life cut far too short. While we are sad to see him go, we are relieved that his struggle is over and now he is at peace. The family thanks all of their close friends and family that have stood by their side in support over the many years of Alex’s addiction. Without each of you this family wouldn’t be as strong as they are today.”