My daughter was the most passionate person I know and I’m sure her friends and relatives would agree. If she felt strongly about a topic, she voiced it no matter who else might disagree. She was a vegetarian and that was one of her passions. You can read more about that here. She did not care if others ate meat but she stood by her own convictions.
She was raised Catholic, attended Catholic schools, was an alter server and went to youth groups at the church but she would not be afraid to tell anyone her opinions on why she didn’t believe in organized religion. She would even say that out loud in front of her devoutly Catholic grandmother, something not too many people were brave enough to do.
Justine stood up for the homeless and mentally ill. She was not shy about talking to street people and working with them. She volunteered at shelters and soup kitchens so she could spend time with people who needed a sympathetic ear. She understood that not everyone comes from supportive families and has medical coverage for medications. Often people just make mistakes and can’t overcome them. It snowballs and they find themselves homeless or addicted.
She worked from a very young age and had a strong work ethic. She always had one, two or even three jobs that she juggled. Even when she was hired full time she still served in a restaurant on the weekends. One time she decided to quit her weekend job. She called me up on Saturday to ask me a question. She said,
“Mom, what do people do on the weekend?” She was bored and went back the next week to get her job back.
She loved her friends and was very loyal. She kept many friends from childhood. She could be counted on for babysitting too. She often hosted “shed parties” where her guests could come over and hang out in her heated shed. She and many of her friends smoked so in winter that’s where they had company. In the summer they sat around the pool.
No topic was off limits for a good debate when you were with Justine. She didn’t care if she shocked or provoked, as long as she was able to stand up for her principles and speak her mind. We all miss our conversations that we had with her. I wonder if she and her Nana are still sticking to their beliefs wherever they are. I like to think of all my loved ones who have crossed over at a resort somewhere tropical having an extended vacation.