This year Seven Days created All Our Hearts, an online memorial project documenting the lives of those lost to opioid-use disorder. The website was inspired by an obituary for Madelyn Linsenmeir that went viral last year and ended with the words, “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.”
As a result of the overwhelming public response to that obituary, Seven Days hired its author, Linsenmeir's sister Kate O'Neill, to report and write a yearlong series: "Hooked: Stories and solutions from Vermont's opioid crisis." All Our Hearts is a related project, designed to help families memorialize their loved ones the way O'Neill memorialized her sister.
Family members who shared their stories of love and loss gathered at Generator in Burlington on a chilly Saturday to turn 200 balls of clay into heart-shaped stones. The project was inspired by SamStones, made in memory of Sam Cohn and placed around the world. The small group spent the afternoon trading stories, stamping stones with allourhearts.com and personalizing them with the names of their daughters, sons and sisters. The fired stones will be handed out to the public at an All Our Hearts event on December 8 at Generator. Organizers are hoping they will spread the message far and wide that opioid-use disorder affects everyone and those who are suffering from it are loved.
If you or someone you love is suffering from opioid-use disorder and needs treatment and support resources, here’s how to get connected:
Call 1‑800‑662‑HELP, a free, confidential 24-hour hotline run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
If you are grieving a loved one who died of opioid-use disorder and are looking for support, contact Grief Recovery After Substance Passing (GRASP).
Shooting date: 11/9/19
Music: Rondo Brothers, "Bunker" & "Hellganor"