Most obituaries focus only on the positive aspects of a person's life. But an obituary written for a 30-year-old woman who died after struggling with opioid addiction for nearly half her life is brutally honest about the good and the bad.
The obituary, which has been widely shared on social media, is part cautionary tale and part call-to-action. It's a motivational message for addicts and a plea for less judgment and more empathy for those who are not.
According to the obituary, Madalyn Ellen Linsenmeir died Oct. 7. After a couple of paragraphs sharing the typical information that typical obituaries do -- where she lived, her talents and accomplishments -- the family gives atypical details about her struggles.
Linsenmeir first tried OxyContin at a party in high school. It was the start of "a relationship with opiates that would dominate the rest of her life."
In fact, her family admits her "adult life was largely defined by drug addiction" and that some probably just wrote her off as a junkie.
After having a baby in 2014, Linsenmeir transformed her life. Her family said she "tried harder and more relentlessly to stay sober than we have ever seen anyone try at anything."
Still, she eventually relapsed and lost custody of her son.
The loss sent her spiraling into a place of "incredible darkness." Her family said she did horrible things that "exponentially increased her pain and shame."
"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 family used the obituary to urge people to have empathy, support and compassion for people struggling with addiction and encouraged donations for a center that provides recovery assistance.
And they had a message for other addicts.
"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."