Police chief on viral obituary: Vermont addict's death 'was nothing special at all'
In the wake of the opiate-addict obituary read ‘round the world, Burlington, Vermont Police Chief Brandon del Pozo took to his Facebook page with a rant that should stop everyone in their sentimental, share-button-clicking tracks. The lengthy post, since republished as an op-ed in the Burlington Free Press, points out everything that’s wrong with the viral tribute—or more accurately, the public response to it.
Published Sunday, the obituary for Madelyn Linsenmeir, if you’ve not yet read it, is a well-crafted homage to a 30-year-old woman lost to a 14-year opioid addiction that started when she tried OxyContin at a high school party. Rather than dodge around Linsenmeir’s cause of death or portray her as an angel, the emotional eulogy paints the mother of one as a person with problems who, despite her talents and opportunities, her privileges and passions, still died of a disease we never talk about: addiction.
Our beloved Madelyn Ellen Linsenmeir died on Sunday, October 7. While her death was unexpected, Madelyn suffered from drug addiction, and for years we feared her addiction would claim her life. We are grateful that when she died she was safe and she was with her family.
Madelyn was a born performer, and had a singing voice so beautiful it would stop people on the street. Whether she was on stage in a musical or around the kitchen table with her family, when she shared her voice, she shared her light.
She loved to ski and snowboard, and she swam on the YMCA swim team, winning medals at the New England regionals.
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.