In the late 1940s, Loretta Webb met the man who would become her husband, Oliver Lynn. And though the two had a tumultuous relationship, they remained together for nearly 50 years until Oliver’s death in 1996 at the age of 69. During that time, the couple had six children: Betty, Jack, Ernest, Clara, Peggy, and Patsy.
Sadly, however, two of those children have now passed away. Betty Sue Lynn, the couple’s eldest child, died at the age of 64 of emphysema. And tragically, their eldest son, Jack Benny Lynn, died at just 34 years old while attempting to cross the Duck River on the family’s ranch in Tennessee.
July 22, 2022, marked the 38th anniversary of the horrific loss of Loretta Lynn‘s son. And though she’s now 90 years old, and her children have children of their own, the pain is no easier to bear.
As she does every year, Loretta posted a tribute to her late son on her Instagram page. “Today is 38 years without my Jack,” she wrote in the caption before directing fans to her website, where she shared a heartbreaking tale about her son’s life and all too early death.
Loretta Lynn’s Heart-Wrenching Tribute to Her Late Son Jack
Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. And for Loretta Lynn, the nightmare came true 38 years ago, a tragedy that still torments her to this day. In her essay, entitled “Jack Benny Lynn: 38 Years,” Loretta Lynn described the unimaginable grief that has followed her for decades.
“38 years. It was long ago and it was yesterday,” she wrote. “My Jack Benny. That boy had my heart. He looked like his daddy. He was quiet. An outdoorsman. A looker. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he was born on a horse.”
“It about killed me when I lost him. My team asked me if we should keep posting each year on the anniversary of his death and I say absolutely. I love it when we remember him. I love hearing his name, stories about him, and seeing that others haven’t forgotten him.”
“I miss him terribly,” the country icon continued. “I think of him every single day—whether anyone mentions him or not… Words can’t touch grief that goes so deep. It’s a grief that tortures you until you wish you were dead, but it leaves you suffering. There’s no magic formula to getting through it; you just do.”
Later in the post, Loretta Lynn shared that music helped her cope with the loss. “Most don’t know that I started covering Willie Nelson’s song ‘You Were Always on My Mind’ after Jack died,” she wrote. “It was a way for me to tell him I still thought of him.”