February 27, 1997 – December 2, 2020
Janelle Ellen Marie Thompson, age 23, passed away Dec. 2, 2020, of an opioid overdose after a long brave battle with substance use.
Janelle is survived by her son, Rexten (age 2); her parents, Anna Thompson and Greg Thompson (Naomi Sheehan); her older brother, Rylie, and her younger sister, Jaden; her grandparents, Helen Shoemaker (Mel Massini), and Jim and Irene Thompson; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Janelle never wanted to be defined only by her addiction. She was SO MUCH MORE than that. For instance, Janelle was always hopeful that speaking truth to her substance use would somehow break the stigma against other individuals suffering from addictions.
She believed in the power of discussion and genuine connection. The field of addictions was one area of human struggle that she put her heart and soul into, and she believed in having people talk openly about a problem that continues to take a great many of our promising young peoples’ lives.
Janelle was an absolutely beautiful and intelligent young adult. She was feisty and outspoken. She was incredibly generous, and she would do ANYTHING for anyone. She ALWAYS lit up a room with her smile and sense of humour, even while struggling.
Although Janelle was in a battle against something that most do not have a chance against, it was clear that she always had a profound level of love for her son, Rexten. She fought astonishingly hard to be positioned to be the kind of mother that she considered Rexten truly deserved to have. She loved Rexten, and the rest of her family, vastly and deeply.
Janelle believed strongly in second chances. To illustrate, she donated her own life-saving vital organs to give others a second chance at life. That was Janelle. Janelle also believed that hiding the cause of her death would help no one, but if her story could help just one other person with addictions in some meaningful way, then it would be worth “coming out of the shadows”. This amazing woman and loving mother should be remembered for the special qualities she had, and for the love that we shared with her.
Janelle wanted to live. She had plans of being with her son as he grew up and celebrating his milestones with him. She had visions of a future career, and she fought HARD, all the way to the end of her life.
While Janelle was celebrating the triumphs and milestones of her recovery, she could not break the chains of a “demon” that is wiping out a large and vital part of our society. She has painfully revealed to us that addiction does not discriminate.
Addiction is hidden behind the faces of everyday people all around us. It will take a firm hold on and destroy anyone in its path, including families and people who love them. Janelle is not just another statistic, not just “another one gone too soon”. She was a great person with a very big heart, and she had a bright future ahead of her. Janelle is a gift that the world lost, and we can never replace her.
The best way to honour Janelle now is for anyone reading this to think twice before judging an addict.
Arrangements to be determined at a later date, due to COVID-19.
Donations may be made to:
Foothills Centre, PO Box 1573, Fort Macleod, AB, T0L 0Z0
Contact information is Val Campbell, Executive Director at 403-553-4466
For donations of $20.00 of more, a tax donation receipt will be issued
Rising Above Ministries, 11007 106 Street, Grande Prairie, AB T8V 2Z3
On-line: risingabovegp.com (navigate to donations)
Contact information is Rhonda Short 780-533-3025 or Rhonda@risingabovegp.com
The family wishes to send a special thank you to Grande Prairie EMS, Queen Elizabeth II ICU, University of Alberta Hospital Neurological ICU and the University of Alberta Hospital Hope program for their care and compassion.
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