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It was with a great sense of sadness the death of Justine Finn was received in her native Mitchelstown on Sunday night. Justine had battled her illness bravely right up until the very end and was an inspiration to many, such was her determination to make the best of the time she knew she had left on this earth.
She had a great love of all things connected with the arts. She was very interested in current affairs and was hugely passionate regarding the many injustices in the world. The large and representative turnout at O’Brien’s Funeral Home on Tuesday night was testament to her popularity. Justine’s remains were cremated at The Island Crematorium, Ringaskiddy following a ceremony in St Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore on Wednesday. She is survived by her daughter Ashley, her brothers Eoin, Terence and Kevin and her sisters Arlaine (Dunne) and Janet (O’Neill) to whom we extend our deepst sympathy.
The following tribute by a close friend of Justine’s, very appropriately sums up her life:
When Justine Frances Finn was born on 29 June 1952 to Eugene and Margaret, the world was unaware of the gift that had been bestowed on it. Justine was a woman of heroic qualities who could, on the one hand, calm the stormiest waters and who, on the other hand, was capable of creating a tempest in the most serene of surroundings especially when she perceived injustice in any form. She was fiercely independent and private.
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer just over 5 years ago, she embarked on the treatment route that she hoped would help her conquer her disease but hardly revealing it to people outside her family. Sadly, it was one of the very few battles during her life that she did not win. Her death at Marymount Hospice last Sunday night ended a lifetime given, for the most part, in helping others less fortunate than her.
She was multi-talented. Possessing a towering intellect, she was also a very talented artist, a wonderful singer, an inspiring writer who also read copiously, a loving mother and a loyal friend. She was remarkable in so many ways – in her passion for social justice, in her groundedness, in her acceptance of all and every challenge, in her simple presence that calmed and inspired. She offered many an emotional port in the storm of my life. She inspired self-confidence, inquisitive minds and creativity in the people who came into contact with her; people learned from her without knowing it was happening. She was unstinting in everything she did including the love she gave.
Her bravery manifested itself in different ways throughout her life but really came to the fore during the past 6 months as her cancer spread and she came to terms with her own mortality. She fought to the bitter end and the fact that she only spent one week in hospice care is testament to her resilience
The many people who were honoured and blessed to have her mixed into the recipe of their lives now feel beyond sad and beyond loss. She was a personal heroine for many. At the end her passing was also a blessing. She struggled with her typical grace and ferocious determination before finally succumbing to the inevitable. She passed with the quiet grace that characterised her life.
If our lives are measured by the love we leave behind, then the measure of Justine’s life is great indeed.
“Now we’ve filled for you the parting glass,
Good night and joy be with you, Jus”.
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