Popular author tackles tragedy through the eyes of her Mom

By Patrick Newhook/May 5, 2022

To write her latest book, author Ida Linehan Young had to look at a family tragedy from her mother’s perspective.

On Sunday, May 1, deep within St. Mary’s Bay, author Ida Linehan Young launched her latest book, If I Cry I’ll Fill the Ocean: The Catherine Linehan Story, in her home town of North Harbour.

The book is a personal memoir about Linehan Young’s mother, Catherine Linehan, and how she moved forward after their family faced a tremendous tragedy – a fire that destroyed her home and took five of her 10 children’s lives.

“It’s a memoir, it’s a true story,” said Linehan Young. “In 1980 we had a house fire and she lost five children in the fire. So, this book is about her life prior to, and during and after the event.”

The fire happened when Linehan Young was 15 years old. In fact, the first book she wrote was about her own perspective of the same event. This time, by speaking with her mother, she was able to put together how her Mom experienced this and let her story be known

All Linehan Young’s novels center around life in rural Newfoundland, something that has always been close to her. This time it was told on a more personal scale and focused on a significant event in her family that was rarely spoken about.

“Well, I believe that it’s a story that we needed to know. It’s been a very closed off topic. Nobody talked about it, nobody really talks about the event,” said Linehan Young.

When looking back at the process of writing the book, Linehan Young had to recall the personal tragedy through her mother’s perspective, something that wasn’t easy.

“I was happy to do it, but it was hard at times. For example, when my father died, he died 20 years ago, and it was hard to write about that from her perspective. It’s an extra perspective that I had to take into account,” said Linehan Young.

This release marks the sixth book that Linehan Young has written. To help celebrate the launch in the community of less than 70 people, there was a band, The Salt Beef Junkies, as well as the St. Pats Dancers. About 100 people attended the launch, including Linehan Young’s mother.

With the book now released, Linehan Young has already heard from people who went through similar experiences and hopes that now her mother’s story can finally be known.

“I’ve already heard from several people who’ve lost children specifically who’ve said that they feel validated and they really connected with the story. They know what she went through, and they know that it’s realistic. It’s real to them what she went through and it kind of helped them get through what they were getting through as well,” said Linehan Young.

Linehan Young also hopes it helps her Mom.

“She likes to help people and I think that knowing that the book has helped people especially with probably the most disastrous thing that you can go through in your life would be the most complementary thing she ever could have gotten,” said the author.

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