Losing a loved one is never easy, but having to say goodbye to someone at a young age is especially hard. Madelyn Ellen Linsenmeir was just 30 years old when she passed away last week, on October 7th, and her family are obviously devastated.
When it came to writing her obituary, though, they held nothing back in disclosing the circumstances that led up to her death -even though it must have been incredibly painful for them.
"Madelyn was a born performer and had a singing voice so beautiful it would stop people on the street," the obituary said. "Whether she was onstage in a musical or around the kitchen table with her family, when she shared her voice, she shared her light."
She was "hilarious, and warm, and fearless, and resilient;" she was "adored as a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend and mother;" and she was a loving mother to her only son, Ayden.
Unfortunately, Linsenmeir was also a drug addict - and it was this that eventually killed her.
The obituary discloses that Linsenmeir was only a teenager when she experimented with drugs for the first time.
"When she was 16, she moved with her parents from Vermont to Florida to attend a performing arts high school. Soon after she tried OxyContin for the first time at a high school party, and so began a relationship with opiates that would dominate the rest of her life."
Tragically, that one instance changed her entire life.
"It is impossible to capture a person in an obituary, and especially someone whose adult life was largely defined by drug addiction. To some, Maddie was just a junkie - when they saw her addiction, they stopped seeing her. And what a loss for them."
And it's not as if she didn't try to escape her addictions, either. When her son was born, Linsenmeir tried to get her life back on track for him.
"Maddie loved her family and the world," the obit said.
"But more than anyone else, she loved her son, Ayden, who was born in 2014. She transformed her life to mother him. Every afternoon in all kinds of weather, she would put him in a backpack and take him for a walk. She sang rather than spoke to him, filling his life with song. Like his mom, Ayden loves to swim; together they would spend hours in the lake or pool. And she so loved to snuggle him up, surrounding him with her love."
Tragically, her addiction was simply too much.
"After having Ayden, Maddie tried harder and more relentlessly to stay sober than we have ever seen anyone try at anything. But she relapsed and ultimately lost custody of her son, a loss that was unbearable."
Without her son, the young woman struggled to get by.
"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."
Though she had periods of wellness, her family say that her "disease" was relentless.
"We believed as we always did that she would overcome her disease and make the life for herself we knew she deserved. 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."
Even though Linsenmeir's family must be going through incredible torment right now, they still took the time to include a message for anyone who is struggling, or anybody who fails to recognise the true extent of that struggle:
"If you yourself are struggling from addiction, know that every breath is a fresh start. Know that hundreds of thousands of families who have lost someone to this disease are praying and rooting for you. Know that we believe with all our hearts that you can and will make it. It is never too late.
"If you are reading this with judgment, educate yourself about this disease, because that is what it is. It is not a choice or a weakness. And chances are very good that someone you know is struggling with it, and that person needs and deserves your empathy and support."
Our thoughts are with Madelyn Linsenmeir's family, and the loved ones of anybody else who has lost their life to this terrible affliction.