Jessica Buzzeo spoke to her foster sister, Jocelyn "Josie" Gilles Day, at the memorial service for Josie. She told her their family went to the beach earlier in the day and wrote her name as big as they could in the sand. "Wherever you are, you will see it," she said.
Hundreds gathered at Round Hill Community Church Thursday evening to honor the 16-year-old Greenwich High School sophomore, who tragically took her own life last weekend.
Mourners filed into the large church in North Greenwich, filling floor and balcony to capacity. Those who did not find a seat stood silent and bowed their heads. Picture collages filled the foyer with cherished memories of Day's life since she was welcomed into the Day family five years ago.
A note on the back of the funeral program from her family -- Randy, Emily, Gregory, Jessica, James and Thomas -- read, "In five years of being with us, she has changed us in immeasurable ways. We know that each of you feels this truth. Josie Gilles Day lived a lifetime of loss, love, adversity and triumph in her 16 years. Thank you for being with us to celebrate her personhood today and for loving Josie, each in your own way."
Josie was born in Haiti in 1994 and adopted by the Day family in 2005. She lived in the mountains of Haiti with no running water or electricity. Despite her troublesome childhood, Day immersed herself in the Greenwich community. She was an award-winning member of the GHS track team and also helped raise thousands of dollars to support the Greenwich teen chapter of Save the Children's Haiti Earthquake Fund.
At the ceremony, the Rev. Edward Horn, Jessica Buzzeo, J.J. Andrews, Kate Newton, Mary Pat Schroeder, Matthew Shackleford, Chris Cole, Judy Hallock and the Rev. Dr. Heather Wright spoke words of remembrance.
Her grandfather, Wendell C. Shackelford, wrote a poem called "Blossom," which ended: "Fall closes hands, turns flowers' heads, Announces Winter's turning of the year. If I had thought, I would have known to dread That Blossom would, with other flowers, Disappear."
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