Tribute to Jo

Vivacious, fun, caring, full of life, compassionate, understanding ... eyes that could say a thousand words, great legs!!

These are just a few things that spring to mind when I think about Jo. Whenever Jo came into my thoughts, it would bring a smile to my face. That is the effect she had on me. On everybody. She is on my mind a lot these days and the smile is still there but sometimes now it is a smile with a touch of melancholia and sometimes a smile with a tear…. but nevertheless always a smile. I will always remember Jo as someone who could laugh easily and who would laugh a lot. The sound of her laughter is still vivid in my mind.

I have known Jo for a much shorter time than so many others but I can really feel the void of her absence and it hurts. I feel for her family and friends of many years. She left us far too soon. Maybe time will in some way assist all those who love her, to come to terms with the reality and finality of it all.

Jo gave in generous measures and she never asked anything in return. She would be as enthusiastic and supportive about ones life, big and small decisions, undertakings and saga's (!) as she would have been about her own. Or more. She was always there for everybody. She was always there for me. She was not only my friend but also my surrogate mom and she always looked out for me.

Jo was one of the first people who knew about my dream to do a big adventure on horseback across the America's and she sent me a note the day after I told her about my plans. "I had difficulty sleeping last night and I couldn't stop thinking about your trip. You make it sound like going shopping, just much more exciting!" Jo was part of TATA from the word go. She believed in me from the very beginning and although she was secretly a bit worried (I was told this only recently by a mutual friend), she never let on. It wasn't me and my project, but US. Many a time she would say "how are we for money, what are going to do to get you more sponsorship, what will we do to get in touch with so and so…". I still have visions of her coming into the office with a twinkle in her eyes, doing a little jig while holding out a cheque that just came in. The negative ones immediately had to be blacklisted! "We'll never shop there!"

It saddens me a great deal that Jo won't be on the other side of a telephone or e-mail to share my journey for the next 18 months but in ways I have the best of her because she will be doing every single mile with me. And wherever I manage to finish, she will be there. My TATA is dedicated to Jo. She will be my guardian angel.

We will never forget her. Just before I left Ireland I did some pictures of Emma (Jo and Kieran's grandchild). She was a dote and it was easy to see a bit of Jo in her mannerisms, her smile, the way she would tilt her head…. Jo will never be forgotten.

" ... and Jo, I promise ... when I get to the top of that mountain with the spectacular view, I will do what you asked and put up a wooden cross for you. Just for you."

Te echo mucho de menos.