On Her Own Terms

Justine lived large. She did things her way and when she did something she did it in a huge way. There was nothing mediocre in the way she lived her life. She had strong convictions and she stuck by them. She always learned lessons the hard way. She was an individual and she didn’t care what others thought of her.

The homeless, abused women and the mentally ill were things she cared deeply about. She did her high school co-op placements in a shelter for battered women and a drop-in centre for people who were living on the street. Her 40 hours of community service were done in a soup kitchen, where she continued volunteering long afterward. She didn’t just talk about the problems she took action.

 She loved her family and friends and was very loyal. She lived by her own standards. She wasn’t afraid to speak up if she disagreed. She didn’t shy away from controversy. She lived on her own terms. She defended what she believed in.

As I write about my daughter I’m often reminded of women from the Wild West. Annie Oakley or some woman dressed in cowboy clothes with guns comes to mind. Someone who would not take any crap from anyone but had a heart of gold. 
“My mother…was perfectly horrified when I began shooting and tried to keep me in school, but I would run away and go quail shooting in the woods or trim my dresses with wreaths of wildflowers.”-Annie Oakley

Justine was killed in a car accident last March. The book I am writing is about her life and the way she lived it. It’s entitled, “Not My Story To Tell. 

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