Kate O & Neil does not want her sister Madelyn Linsenmeir to be remembered for her addiction. Her surprisingly candid obituary, which she wrote for a local Vermont newspaper, received wide attention for her warmth and openness.
(NEW YORK) – Madelyn Linsenmeir was a mother, sister and friend who was "hilarious and warm and fearless, she was also opioid dependent."
Linsenmeir had been a junkie for 12 years and what her sister said some of her darkest points, she would sometimes beg for money and lost custody of her young son for her illness.
On October 7, the 30-year-old died in police custody, as her sister Kate O'Neill reports.
O'Neill does not want Latter Meir to be remembered for her addiction, and her surprisingly honest obituary, written for a local Vermont newspaper, received wide attention for her warmth and sincerity.
"It is impossible to capture a person in an obituary, and especially someone whose adult life was largely drug addicted. For some, Maddie was just a junkie ̵
She explained how Linsenmeir loved her son Ayden and how she" sang rather than talked to him and filled his life with songs. " ] "After having Ayden, Maddie tried harder and more relentlessly to stay sober than we had ever seen. But she fell back and eventually lost custody of her son, a loss that was unbearable, "she continued.
O'Neill said the obituary honored her sister but also talked about the realities of drug addiction – she hopes others can learn from it
"I want us to have empathy for the people in their dark, whether it's Maddie digging in the grocery store parking lot, whether it's a junkie getting up The street is fainting, "said O'Neill to ABC News." These people are also Maddie. "
The obituary has since become viral, but there were also critics.
Brandon del Pozo, chief of police in Burlington Vermont, where Linsenmeir and her family grew up, wrote on Facebook that he had "a problem" with it.
"Why? to take a grieving relative with a good literary sense to alert people for a moment and shed a tear when nearly a quarter of a million people died in the same way as Maddie when that epidemic grew? "said Del Pozo in his post.
" Ask the police and they'll tell you: Maddie's death was nothing special at all. It happens all the time, people no less loved and used and human, "he added, posting a series of steps taken by the Burlington Police Department to address drug addiction.
O & Neill said the outpourings of support for her sister was "unbelievable and it was bittersweet."
"We knew we were not alone and I think the part that's bitter is that there's really concrete evidence for the number of people who affected by this disease. Our grief is so intense and so personal, but it's not unique, "said O'Neill.
She received the negative feedback.
" This disease needs a face and Maddie is just a face "Neil asks those who are interested in stopping opioid addiction at the Turning Point Center," a place where Maddie spent time and felt supported. "
said Gary De Carolis, the director of the center The staff was "showered" with donations after the obituary was published.
"We have not experienced anything like this in the history of the center," De Carolis told ABC News.
De Carolis said he praised the courage of Linsenmeir's family to be so open about their illness.
"The thing for me, the family … they had the courage to tell Maddie's story and the scourge of addiction To give face. That's going to change how America and the world see people who struggle with addiction. We're all human first, and some of us unfortunately have to deal with it, "said De Carolis.
The exact cause of Linsenmeir's death is still unknown." Neill said that drugs might not have killed her, and Noting that she was in police custody at the time, Linsenmeir's death could not be taken into account in government statistics, just like so many others who die of an overdose said O Neill
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