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Is it just me or does everyone wonder why we’re here?

Is it just me or does everyone wonder why we’re here?

I went to a funeral this week, my friend Jo Henebery died after a long battle with Ovarian Cancer.

She leaves behind a heartbroken husband Bill, three children and two grand children.

To know Jo was to love her.  She was bright and funny, a quiet achiever, always helping others, never seeking the spotlight.  Bill told the packed chapel if Jo was here she’d say, ‘Haven’t all you people got something better to do?  Just leave it with me, I’ll sort it out.’

I met Jo in 2007 when I was running for Federal Parliament.  Jo and her friend Vicki came to my office to talk about the rights of commercial fishermen. Over 30 years Jo worked tirelessly for her industry. She was relatively shy and very respectful but Jo was a warrior.  She would never be fobbed off – Bill laughed at the number of times a politician tried to question Jo’s recall or deny a promise, only to see her immediately produce the relevant document and stand her ground.

Jo wasn’t very old but she was old school.  She was a stay at home mum who did everything for her kids and husband.  They were her world.

On Wednesday afternoon Krystle, Eli and Rachael all stood up for their mum and through unstoppable tears talked about her faith in them, her love of viral you tube clips and how in her dying days, wracked with pain, they couldn’t stop her moving in her hospital bed so the nurses could sit down to take OBs.  She thought they worked too hard.

The last time I saw Jo was on Christmas Eve. The cancer was back but she didn’t want to talk about it.  She wanted to hear about my Christmas and my kids.  It was stinking hot and she was brandishing the vaccum getting ready for a huge family celebration the next day.  Jo proudly showed me through their renovation and pictures of those beautiful grand babies.  The house was full of toys.

In her life, Jo was a nurse, an administrator, an advocate, a career, a wife, a mother and a tireless friend.

In the last difficult weeks, in the daily battle just to stay alive Jo often smiled and quoted Brad Pitt’s famous line from ‘Fury’, ‘Best job I ever had.’

And on her last day, when the fight was over, surrounded by Bill and the kids Jo told them she wasn’t scared anymore, she was ready to go.  Through tears, Bill asked her if she had any regrets?  Was she happy with her life? With him? Jo grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him close.  She whispered in his ear, ‘You’re the best damn job I ever had.’

Rest In Peace Jo.  You will be missed by so many.