In memory of Jessi-Jo Finnamore, adopted daughter of Ken and Rosemary Finnamore.  Jessi came

to us when she was 10 years old, and left her adopted family to return to her birth family at the age of 19.

On August 31, 2004, Jessi left this world under tragic circumstances.

 

JESSI'S EULOGY, MAY 31, 2005

 

Hello, my name is Dan Duguay and it is my honor to speak to you this morning about the beautiful child, the cherished sister, the precious friend, and the wonderful person of Jessi Jo Finnamore.  I am the principal of Coles Island School, a small rural school of less then 100 students, about a 20 minute drive from here.  One of the unique and cool things about a small school is that students and teachers know everyone so well that we are almost like a big family.  CIS is one of the schools that Jessi Jo attended during her short walk among us and is the place where I came to know her and her family.  It is also the place where she became a part of our "school family."

 

The Finnamore's arrived at Coles Island School in the spring of 1994, and I remember being totally amazed when Ken and Rosemary appeared at my office and told me about their plans for adoption of four children, two boys, and two girls.  I also remember thinking these guys must have taken leave of their senses ...I mean four kids from kindergarten to grade four, and these two had already raised one family. However, the joy and commitment to their new family as well as their strong faith soon won us all over.  I remember later in discussions with the staff how everyone was filled with admiration and respect.

The teachers and I vowed then and there to do anything and everything to support this family in their journey.  Those teachers are here today and they want the family to know that we are still here for you and share with you in your sorrow and suffering.  I also know that several teachers from Chipman Forest Avenue School are here today, and know they feel the same.

 

In the fall of 1994 Ken Finnamore ran for the school's first Parent Support Committee.  He stood up and gave a speech that night that went something like:  Rosemary and I are committed to this family and we plan to get involved in their education...and you know what?  That's exactly what they did!  I say this because this is the kind of family that Jessi Jo was involved with upon her arrival at CIS.  They were very supportive parents, and Jessi flowered in that environment.   Speaking of flowers:  At the right of the entrance to CIS there is a little golden patch of daffodils that leaps to joyful life every spring and catches my attention.  I notice those daffodils every year and they always remind me of Wordsworths great poem on daffodils.

 

"I wondered lonely as a cloud

That floats over vail and hill

And all at once I saw a cloud

A host of golden Daffodils."

 

Wordsworth is talking about "a moment of awe"; a moment when God kind of reaches up and slaps you in the face and says, "Here I am!  Pay attention to me!  Don't ignore me!  See how beautiful I am!"  Jessi Jo Finnamore is like those daffodils.  She would suddenly (all at once) appear in your life; in a hallway, at your desk, or on the bus in the quietest ways.  Somehow her charming smile would disarm you and you would look straight at her.  She would smile, a beautiful gentle sincere smile and you would feel good no matter what she wanted to talk to you about!  Even if it was to tell you that her mother put her homework thru the washer last night.  Without exception, when asked what they remembered about Jessi Jo, everyone mentioned her beautiful smile and friendly, cheerful spirit. Yes, Jessi had a disarming and beautiful way of saying, "Here I am!  Pay attention to me!  Don't ignore me!  See how beautiful I am!"

 

Jessi-Jo was a happy motivated and involved student at CIS and CFAS.  She participated in as many school activities as possible always gave it her best shot.  She loved sports, being a reading buddy, and tried her hand at drama for the first time under my direction when she hit middle school.  Now this was a considerable risk for Jessi Jo who was friendly and gentle, but also shy and retiring when it came to doing anything on the stage especially if it involved saying it loudly.  To move these shy and retiring qualities to confidence and delivery on the stage was going to take a lot of work and work we did.... after hearing week after week of do that again only louder, now slower, now articulate, etc, etc., can wear down the toughest of kids.  But Jessi Jo stayed with it and proved that success comes from hard work and effort.  Two qualities that I know she carried with her both to high school and university.  I especially remember the look of pride on her face when we nailed our play at the provincial drama festival and the adjucators praised the characters and their great performance.  Yes, Rosemary and Ken were at that Provincial Drama festival too.  They were great chaperones and made sure that Jessi Jo got to bed at a decent hour ... amid a number of spirited teenage protests, as I do recall.

 

Yes, Jessi Jo was many things to many people and captured the hearts of all those who got to know her.  I also know that all of you who came here today to pay your respects and celebrate the life of Jessi Jo could fill this entire day with your stories of Jessi Jo, her friendship, and your fabulous adventures.  I know that she had dreams and aspirations and wanted the best out of life for herself, her family, and her friends.  She loved life, and life loved her!

 

Have you ever seen a really, really good movie?  Afterwards, after the movie is over you're left sitting there with a feeling, a feeling that something special just  happened, a feeling that leaves you with a slight smile on your face.  I call that feeling, the essence of the movie; it has touched you in a deep and profound way that you can't explain, but you know it touched you.

 

I think that this is what Jessi Jo has done for all of us who have known and loved her.  Somehow her spirit has touched ours in a beautiful way and she has become a part of the fabric of all our lives.  Because of this, she will always be with us and continue to influence the way we live our lives.  Yes, for many life will seem harder without Jessi but I am sure if Jessi could speak to us today that she would want us to go on with our lives and live them as precious gifts, to the fullest. 

 

Finally, with all respect to each one here if I could leave you with this thought.  When you find yourself surprised  (all at once) by one of God's delight; a sunset, a bouquet of flowers, a rainbow, the beauty of a child, to turn a thought to Jessi Jo and how great it was to have known her.

 

 

TO JESSI

It was a senseless, useless deed

But then Jessi, she was freed

From the hell she was in

From those who caused her sin

They used her like a dirty paper wad

And on her those strangers trod

When it turned to pain and hurt

They buried her beneath the dirt

In the end it didn't matter much

That she thought some of it was fun and such

She was mine not long ago

But back to them she chose to go

I don't know why she went away or why

The beautiful woman had to die

I never stopped loving her

My adopted sister.

by Kellee Kranendonk, Jessi's sister

CONCRETE ANGEL

She walks to school with the lunch she packed,

Nobody knows what she's holding back,

Wearing the same dress she wore yesterday,

She hides the bruises with the linen and lace.

 

The teacher wonders but she doesn't ask,

It's hard to see the pain behind the mask,

Bearing the burden of a secret storm,

Sometimes she wishes she was never born.

 

Through the wind and the rain she stands hard as a stone,

In a world that she can't rise above,

But her dreams give her wings and she flies to a place where she's loved,

Concrete Angel.

 

Somebody cries in the middle of the night,

The neighbors hear but they turn out the lights,

A fragile soul caught in the hands of fate,

When mornin comes it will be too late.

 

Through the wind and the rain she stands hard as a stone,

In a world that she can't rise above,

But her dreams give her wings and she flies to a place where she's loved,

Concrete Angel.

 

A statute stands in a shaded place,

An angel girl with an upturned face,

A name is written on polished rock,

A broken heart that the world forgot.

Through the wind and the rain she stands hard as a stone,

In a world that she can't rise above,

But her dreams give her wings and she flies to a place where she's loved,

Concrete Angel.