If I Cry, I’ll Fill the Ocean: The Catherine Linehan Story by Ida Linehan Young

They are the absence of light. Like shadows bruising where the sun cannot see, though the picture is bright on the canvas. Every second, every minute, every hour has that shadow. It moves and darkens and lightens but is there. The absence of five lives that she bore while the weight of motherhood remains, the weight of love for what is missing. 

Written as a tribute to her mother’s resilience as well as to acknowledge the unfathomable loss that her mother has endured, Ida Linehan Young portrays the life of a woman who has “traversed the uncharted swamps of grief”.  The “vignettes” are masterfully penned and presented in three distinct parts; The Before Compartment, The Chasm, and The After Compartment. Such thoughtful and well-planned organization highlights the compartmentalized life her mother has been left to endure, evoking a depth of sadness within the reader that is difficult to contain.

“Readers will laugh and will cry but will certainly feel great admiration and deep respect for Catherine.”

Told in her own mother’s words, Linehan Young does an excellent job at portraying Catherine’s “layered life” since the tragedy 40 years previously;  happy and smiling on the outside but stricken with the loneliness of grief and the personal daily struggle of an event where the calendar is forever turned to June 19, 1980. Surrounded by a wonderfully supportive community, family and friends Catherine is left to navigate an unimaginable void and the memories of what could have been. The strength and courage of Catherine to push through each day despite the complex challenges of daily living are pitiful but instead, the reader is left inspired and hopeful that she will eventually catch a break. 

Readers will laugh and will cry but will certainly feel great admiration and deep respect for Catherine. As Linehan Young intended, this story does provide a sense of peace, hope and gratitude, especially to those who, like Catherine, are left to bear “the weight of emptiness” and “suffocating absence”. In some strange way, the Linehan story has an undeniable therapeutic quality that makes one feel as if any hardship can be tackled and overcome.

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If I Cry I’ll Fill the Ocean is Ida Linehan Young’s sixth book. Though this true story is a departure from her previous four novels of historical fiction, this story is very much a personal journey of discovery for the author. Having suffered her own trauma as a survivor of the fire as chronicled in No Turning Back: Surviving the Linehan Family Tragedy (2014), this is Catherine’s story; a novel that ends the speculation of one woman’s suffering and is an honourable tribute written by a daughter in an attempt to piece together and make sense of such an extraordinary mother.

She is not Queen Elizabeth, nor Joan of Arc, nor Amelia Earhart, nor will she be recorded in the annals of history. She is Catherine (Power) Linehan from North Harbour, St. Mary’s Bay, and an inspiration to many whom she’s encountered over the years. 


Ida Linehan Young lives on the majestically rugged and beautiful island of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. She has an avid interest in the history of her province. Matching that love of history with the art of storytelling passed down from her father and her maternal grandfather, Ida weaves fictional characters through events and places that you might not believe were real.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Flanker Press Ltd. (April 15 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 274 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1774570742
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1774570746

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Ida
June 24, 2022 21:12

Thank you for the wonderful review.