Jonquil Clouet Boyle, 30, of Brattleboro, beloved daughter of Dianne Clouet and Kenneth Boyle and cherished sister of Eleanor Cautela-Clouet, died suddenly of an accidental overdose after a four-year struggle with heroin use.
Jonquil was born in New York City on April 23, 1991, and she died in New Orleans on April 29, 2021. She grew up in Brattleboro, and the town was often her home base as a young adult.
She was named after an ephemeral spring flower and throughout her life, her beauty glowed like that of her namesake. She could illuminate any space with a cheeky nose wrinkle and the clever mischief dancing in her eyes.
Jonquil was sweet, wild, and snarky from the beginning. She had a creative imagination and a genuine kindness and curiosity for all living creatures.
She was fierce, with an attitude all her own, and would challenge any fool who stepped on her toes. Jonquil accepted people as they were - she didn't like everybody, but she'd give anybody a fair shot. She was profoundly generous for the entirety of her life.
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Jonquil was a gifted and lifelong artist; she created art from the time she could wield a pen until the day she died. She and her dad collaborated on many great drawings, including a joint series that she initiated, “Monsters in Love.”
Mostly self taught, her ideas were vivid, startling, and often dark, and her line work was elegant. She leaves a large body of work, much of it given to her wide swath of family and friends. Jonquil was able to invite something from beyond this world through her art and every drawing she left is a gift.
Jonquil was a traveler and spent much of her adulthood traveling throughout the United States. She hitched, hopped trains, and walked countless miles, navigating by her instinct, charm, and toughness. She saw the inside and underside of communities across the country.
She was restless, impelled to be on the move, and her nature could not be contained. She once described to her mother a leg of one journey home - a junker car traded for a backpack in front of a train station, an unlicensed friend driving and Jonquil navigating the unregistered car over miles of Midwest backroads to avoid the law. She finished her tale with a shrug, saying, “Probably one of the most rock-and-roll things I've ever done.”
And Jonquil was a friend. She was generous, loving, and loyal. She made friends wherever she went and was part of a vast network of love. She had a skill for making people feel that they belonged and that they were important, because Jonquil recognized this truth - we do belong and we are important.
It is hard to find a solo photo of Jonquil; she is always arms tight with her many friends. There were so many, but a particular friend must be noted: her partner, Adam Stanton, who lovingly and steadfastly walked by her side in the last year of her life, along with her sibling Eleanor. Both worked so hard to support her as she was growing in spirit and fighting like hell to live.
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Jonquil was haunted by and suffered great sorrow, which was hard for her to express, because of the loss of many of her beloved young friends in Brattleboro and beyond, due to accident, suicide, and overdose.
Substance use is everywhere, and is often used as a means of coping with grief. The line between use and misuse can be blurry and hard to recognize. Opioid use disorder is a ferocious and punishing illness - it was for Jonquil, and it is for many people in our communities.
Jonquil expressed at the end of her life frustration and pain that people could see only her addiction, because there was so much more to her. She had plans, for her artwork and for her life, and she said on her 30th birthday that her 30s were going to be so much better than her 20s.
Her entire extended family and her vast array of friends mourn deeply that the illness, which is fierce and greedy, did not leave her the time to keep fighting.
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Jonquil's family and friends are planning a celebration of her vivid life this summer. Contributions in her memory may be made to Turning Point of Windham County by check (39 Elm St., Brattleboro, VT 05301), to support their work in giving people with substance misuse disorders the time, the respect, and the help they need to recover and to live.
We, Jonquil's family and friends, are grateful for the time we got to spend with our delightful and surprising dear one. We are so proud of her art and her growth and her strength. The grief and addiction that Jonquil suffered did not diminish her generosity, curiosity, or capacity to love, and that takes remarkable tenacity. She kicked ass until the very end.
We are all blessed to have known her and to love her always.