For so many of us Jessica was the meaning of life and for all of those who knew her, our world will surely never be the same now that she is gone. For those of you who didn’t know her, we only wish you could have. For someone as young as 21, Jessica touched so many people. She was a daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, friend and confidant, to so many people. “There is something wrong with the world today” for someone so full of life to meet such a sudden and brutal death. Her death has not only deeply affected those who knew well her but also strangers who never met her. However, as tragic as her death was, we cannot let her life be defined by her death. That is not what she would have wanted.
Jessica was a fearless young woman who accomplished more in her 21 short years than some people will in a lifetime. She not only jumped out of an airplane at 18, she did it with thumbs up, eyes open and a wide smile on her face. That was the story of Jessica’s life, she never did anything half-heartedly.
Whether in Newfoundland or England, in Norway or at the Royal School in Armagh, or in Montreal, Jessica was an embracer of life and people. She made lasting relationships wherever she went, she was their confidant, their strength and their friend. Jessica looked out for the people around her. She wasn’t incapable of hurting someone’s feelings, but if she did, she wanted to understand what had happened and how she could make it better. She stayed in touch with the people around her, never forgetting anyone.
Jessica was the greatest sister anyone could have asked for. Always loving and supporting her big sister Jules, reassuring her of the great job she was doing as a mother and how proud she was of her. To her little brother PL, Jessica was a soul mate. They were inseparable right to the end. She was often more like a mother to him and took him under her wing from the moment he was born. She was also an aunt and a godmother, responsibilities that she took very seriously.
Jessica learned early in life that it was easier to get what you wanted from you parents by co-operating with them rather than rebelling against them. That was not a sign of her being devious, but of her intelligence. She may not have had the academic intelligence to always attain straight A’s on her school report card, yet Jessica had the super-intelligence to allow her to be her own person, of this she was deservedly proud. Jessica chose the conventions that made sense to her creating a few of her own – in the fashion field and elsewhere. She had the brightness to question ideas – she accepted the traditional values that made sense but rejected those that didn’t. She had the kind of sensitivity that saw to it – even in our world that is so vulnerable to pain; there is beauty that is worth recognising and celebrating. What enables someone to do that is their own beautiful spirit. It is clear to everyone who knew Jessica that she had a beautiful spirit.
Jessica was a true Princess who didn’t see any reason to waste any valuable time keeping her room tidy or washing more than two pieces of crockery at a time, no matter how big the pile. One of the last things she did was bake Christmas cookies for all her friends, leaving a trail of flour and dough behind her as evidence of her labour.
Jessica’s life was a gift to us all.