Mom writes brutally honest obituary for her son
This Mom’s Viral Obituary Is a Brutally Honest Look at Opioid Addiction
Addiction is a nationwide epidemic, with thousands of people losing their lives every week. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019 there were more than 63,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States — a rise of 21 percent in just one year.
One family has made it their mission to use their heartbreaking and tragic loss to raise awareness for a greater cause. Madelyn Ellen Linsenmeir was just 30 when she lost her life on October 7 due to a drug overdose. While many families choose to keep drug-related causes of death out an obituary, Linsenmeir’s loved ones opted to fully disclose it, and the powerful and poignant obituary has gone viral.
“It is impossible to capture a person in an obituary, and especially someone whose adult life was largely defined by drug addiction,” the mother-of-one’s reads. “To some, Maddie was just a junkie – when they saw her addiction they stopped seeing her. And what a loss for them. Because Maddie was hilarious, and warm, and fearless, and resilient.”
The eloquent memorial continues to tell the story of a beautiful and loving young woman who tried OxyContin, a popular painkiller, for the first time at a high school party at the age of 16. Within two years she was regularly using heroin and spent the next years of her life battling her addiction.
In 2014 she became a mother, and though she loved her son deeply, “transformed her life to mother him,” and “relentlessly” tried to stay sober, her demons got the best of her and she relapsed, losing custody of him. “During the past two years especially, her disease brought her to places of incredible darkness, and this darkness compounded on itself, as each unspeakable thing that happened to her and each horrible thing she did in the name of her disease exponentially increased her pain and shame,” it reads.
During 12 days over the summer, Linsenmeir returned home and remained sober for a good portion of the time. “For those 12 wonderful days, full of swimming and Disney movies and family dinners, we believed as we always did that she would overcome her disease and make the life for herself we knew she deserved,” they explained. “We believed this until the moment she took her last breath. But her addiction stalked her and stole her once again. Though we would have paid any ransom to have her back, any price in the world, this disease would not let her go until she was gone.”
The obituary continues, urging people who are struggling from addiction to get help. “Know that hundreds of thousands of families who have lost someone to this disease are praying and rooting for you,” it reads. “Know that we believe with all our hearts that you can and will make it. It is never too late.”
It also urges those who judge addicts or work in institutions where addicts pass through — rehabs, hospitals, jails, courts — to educate themselves and treat the suffering with compassion and respect.
“We take comfort in knowing that Maddie is surrounded by light, free from the struggle that haunted her. We would have given anything for her to experience that freedom in this lifetime. Our grief over losing her is infinite. And now so is she,” it concludes.
Their decision to go public with Linsenmeir's story was effective — not only has the post gone viral but it has also triggered a greater conversation about drug addiction and may even result in policy change.
It even got a response from Burlington police chief Brandon del Pozo, who reacted to the obituary in an equally powerful Facebook post that has also gone viral. Del Pozo pointed out that Linsenmeir's story is just a small piece of a huge epidemic and that has taken the lives of “a quarter of a million people.”
“Did readers think this was the first time a beautiful, young, beloved mother from a pastoral state got addicted to Oxy and died from the descent it wrought? And what about the rest of the victims, who weren't as beautiful and lived in downtrodden cities or the rust belt? They too had mothers who cried for them and blamed themselves,” he wrote.
He also urged for more education and policy change when it comes to prosecuting and treating addicts — such as eliminating the prosecution of people with addiction for misdemeanor-level drug possession. In addition to be shared by thousands of people and covered at a national level, it garnered the response of Democratic candidate for governor Christine Hallquist who shared his post and thanked him for his words. A journalist for the Daily Beast, Timothy Burke, even tweeted the post writing, "Please elect this man to replace Bernie Sanders, Vermont."
By continuing to share stories such as Madelyn Ellen Linsenmeir's, we will not only keep her memory alive but also help to educate the world about addiction and encourage policy changes.
Video: Children who wrote brutal obit for mom explain their decision - DailyMailTV
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