18 July 2014: I just want to say a massive congrats to Rach Mitchell for completing her British 10k run at the weekend and raising over £1100 for Jo's charity www.justgiving/rachmitchforjo which takes us almost to the £10k total. Thanks also for the beautiful card with such lovely words and donating your 'help for heroes' winners medal to Thomas and Evie which was met with much 'ohhhhh Ahhh its so beautiful'.... so cute. You're a star Rach XXXXX12 June 2014: On Sunday it will be 1 month since my darling Jo passed away. It’s hard to believe that she has been gone for nearly a month. The children have been truly amazing and back to school and doing really well. We’ve all had a few meltdowns along the way (me included) but on the whole I think as a team we are coping OK. I just wanted to say a hug thanks to everyone for the support given since Jo died. The letters, emails, words spoken and the odd pie and cakes delivered J from friends, family, colleagues at work, parents and teachers has been truly amazing – I have received so many and apologise that I haven’t had the chance to respond to each individually but wanted thank everyone for your support – It has made this really tough time so much easier and reaffirms that apart from a few arseholes out there that make the news people are beautiful and kind so thanks again. I plan to go back to work next week – time will tell whether this is the right decision but I feel I must lead the children by example as Jo always did and crack on.
Also I wanted to thank everyone for their kind donations to Jo’s JustGiving fund. We are now nearly at £7,500 with 141 donations. This is just staggering and I now that Jo would be so proud of everyone for donating to this cause that helps so many families with young children living with Cancer. The original target I set was £3000 but we hit that within 2 days so I increased it to £10,000 – hitting or exceeding that target would be fantastic but whats important is the money that we have already raised and the beautiful comments that have been left which we can all cherish forever.
I have encountered many different emotions over the last 2 years since Jo was first diagnosed. However the overwhelming emotion that I have right now is proud. Proud that I was privileged to be such a big part of Jo’s life, proud that Jo is the mother of my children and proud for Jo for the many wonderful things she achieved during her lifetime. I know that many others who formed part of Jo’s life will feel this too and I also know that while there will always be a strong emotion of loss we can remain proud forever.
Also, on Sunday its father’s day – apparently I am getting breakfast in bed so not quite sure how that will pan out but will be fun anyway J Big up to all those Dads (on earth and in heaven) including mine who aside from being a terribly bad influence down the pub and the cause of some of my worst hangovers is truly amazing and been a rock of support throughout my whole life. Cheers Dad.
Also, I will try and post both tributes read at the funeral on the Just Giving site if anyone is interested.
24 May: When I setup the Justgiving site a few days ago my intention was for those who were planning to attend the funeral could donate to a charity rather than send flowers - since then the response has been overwhelming. Donations have been made from family and friends old and new and even those who have never known Jo but infected by her strength of character and struggle over the last 2 years. So far we have raised nearly £4000 for such an amazing charity that makes such a difference for so many young people and families living with Cancer. The comments posted on the site and words written in emails and letters have been truly amazing and epitomise what such a beautiful, selfless and caring person Jo was… I know she would be immensely proud of everyone for working toward such a great cause. Thank you so much Love Rob, Thomas and Evelyn xxxxxxxxxxxxxxJoanna Patrick (Keleher) died on the 15 May 2014 after a 2 year long battle with Cancer. During this time Jo met others suffering from Cancer but what upset Jo most was seeing the young children (and parents of) also living with this terrible disease - sometimes at progressed stages and very sick. For Jo this was more upsetting than her own battle and the tears that she shed after treatments were for these children rather than herself. Jo's funeral is on Tuesday 27 May - This page has been setup for anyone wishing to make a donation to a cause so close to Jo's heart.Tribute from Rob Patrick (Husband and soulmate)
I can’t believe I am actually standing here doing this. It’s not something you ever prepare yourself for and expect to happen. I thought writing a tribute to Jo would be the easiest thing in the world – certainly there is no shortage of content – In the years that I have known Jo since University we have done so much. However, I don’t believe there are words that can describe the loss that we all feel with Jo no longer with us. We say things like unfair, why does it happen to the good ones, tragic – quite frankly the words that I would use to describe it couldn’t be said in this room. Jo’s purpose in life was to fill those around her with joy and happiness – she only saw the good in people (she married me for a start!) and never had a bad word to say about anyone. There will not be a single person whom Jo has met who would not agree that she had such warmth and energy that was intoxicating to anyone who came in her presence. Words can’t describe our loss.
However, I know Jo wouldn’t want me dwell on the sorrow – she would tell me to sort it out, man up and focus on the positives. Jo was the most optimistic and positive person that I have ever met. Many people in this room don’t know this but nearly 2 years ago when Jo was diagnosed with Breast Cancer they told us that it had already spread significantly. Both Jo and I knew how serious this was and whilst tragic Jo was determined not to let it get her down. She had to be strong and fight on and didn’t tell anyone to ensure that those around her would also remain optimistic and positive. She carried this weight – continued as normal. She worked, she continued with the school run and she listened and truly sympathised with other people’s problems and never once publically broke her smile or her resolve – she was a true fighter and like I told her daily she was and is still my absolute hero. You will have to forgive me for the song choice (I am asking Jo for forgiveness also) playing Eye of the Tiger but feel that this song epitimises what Jo stood for – never give up and fight to end. I know that this fighting spirit has been passed down into our beautiful children Thomas and Evie who since mummy has gone to heaven have fought on with the same passion that she did – going back to school after only a single day off – going round to friends houses, to gym and even taking part in a school show. We talked about Mummy being in heaven and always being in our hearts and helping us do the right thing and this strength proves that she is with us. Like Thomas pointed out other day its similar to when Obi Wan Kenobi from Star wars died – “if you strike me down I shall be become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”… and I believe she is. Once again Jo will have to forgive me for quoting star wars at her funeral.
I was lucky enough to meet Jo at Plymouth University – we met briefly in 1995 when we were both 19 (Jo really would never forgive me if I told that story) but didn’t start seeing each other properly until 1999. From that first moment we were soul mates and destined to be together. We loved each other immediately and new we would always be together –forever. I remember describing Jo to my parents after we met as a bombshell – she was sexy, beautiful, bubbly, confident with a zest for passion, fun and life. As soon as Uni finished we took off for travels around Thailand and spent 6 weeks backpacking – it was a magical time of our lives and both of us didn’t have a care in the world apart from each other. From that point we had so many adventures together – we spent 6 in the Alps running a luxury chalet where mastered the silent argument in the kitchen. We travelled around Mexico - were terrified in Mexico city, drunk in Acapulco and I provided Jo with an endless supply of entertainment in Puerto Escondido by nearly drowning whilst trying the surf waves where the local kids practised. We also lived in India together for 1 year where Jo volunteered at a local orphanage looking after children who had been taken off the street often abused with horrific injures and Jo cared for them like her own and made them smile and laugh – there was never one evening where Jo didn’t cry from also. From India we also travelled to Australia, Sri Lanka and back to Thailand for some more wonderful memories.
In 2006 we embarked on our biggest adventure yet – the birth of our beautiful baby boy Thomas and in 2008 our gorgeous girl Evelyn. Although thankfully for me – it turned out that Jo was the grandmaster in mums – If parenting was a martial art Jo would be 9th Dan – of which there is only 1 of. At the very core of Jo is a mum. Truth is that Jo could have been anything that she wanted – Jo had a talent for cutting through bull and while you could tell Jo that Wales was in Scotland and she would probably believe you –in real life situations Jo could cut through any kind of rubbish. I know that Jo would have excelled in the corporate world but she chose to follow her heart and look after children. However, Jo didn’t just look after children, she moulded them. She installed discipline, politeness and moral fibre and I know that every parent who was fortunate enough to have Jo look after their child would agree that they found something truly magical in Jo. Jo treated every child like her own – and when the time came to part from them it was immensely sad for everyone. Personally I was lucky enough to have Jo as the mother of children. For me this is the most amazing thing that I will cherish forever. Whilst Jo’s life was shorted she spent every waking hour with our children – before she got sick there was not an hour that she wasn’t with them. Jo cherished her time on earth with our children and made the most of every moment. What we have ended up with is the most amazing, strong, lovely, secure and happy children. I know that with Jo guiding them they will go on to lead amazing, happy lives and bring joy to others just as mummy did.
I said at the beginning that this was the hardest thing to write – however, I have now realised that writing this was the easiest thing in the world. I haven’t even scratched the surface with Jo’s life and achievements – everyone has their memories of Jo. Many stories wouldn’t be appropriate for now… and that’s why we loved her so much. After the service its time for everyone to share their stories about Jo – some may have known Jo during her childhood, some at Uni, some during her early working years and some from the school playground – whatever it is they are memories and we should rejoice them with a smile and a brave face as Jo would have wanted. I mentioned the song played on the way in – we have 2 more beautiful songs that reflect Jo. The final song is a Frank Sinatra classic – one for my baby one more for the road, which talks about the end of brave episode – however this version is sung by Robbie Williams who she loved – probably even more than me.
And finally I just wanted to say to Jo (cos I know you are listening) thanks for all the wonderful times you have given to me and our babies - and our family and friends. You are our hero and will inspire us all for eternity. We love you.
Tribute from Lucy (Louie) Hawthorne (Lifelong best friend... and other soul mate :-))
Love. Laughter. Happiness.
These are the 3 words that I think best sum up Jo’s time here with us.
For those of you who don’t know, lovely, kind, funny Jo was my oldest friend. We first became friends at Infant School and for the next 35 years we shared the experience of growing up.
From playing Barbie dolls and having sleepovers, to fun family holidays, to our hilarious attempts at partying as teenagers, to funny foreign adventures in our twenties, to introducing our soul mates to each other and then sharing the amazing experiences of motherhood and marriage. I’ve been lucky enough to have Jo with me as I’ve journeyed through life.
Love. Laughter. Happiness
Jo was surrounded by love from the moment she was born. For those of you who know the Keleher family, you will know what I mean when I say, what an incredible bunch they all are. With such a shining example of how family life should be, it is no surprise that Jo went on to cherish her own family life in the same way; with the darling Rob, Thomas & Evelyn.
Jo had an amazing capacity to love and care for everybody and everything. She was ALWAYS like this. Even Jo’s Barbies dolls played at being ‘mums’. They would look after the smaller dolls, cook lunch for them and take them out on pretend trips to the beach and the park in Jo’s Barbie campervan, albeit dressed in their pink frilly ballgowns, and usually wearing some very impractical high heels.
When we were about 12, we went on our first joint family camping holiday to France. I couldn’t believe Jo! She made the rest of us children look so bad! She was up with the lark and would have swept the tents out, done the washing up, hung the towels and wet swimming costumes out on the line and even have collected the croissants from the campsite bakery, before the rest of us (or maybe it was just you and me James?) had stumbled out of our beds.
So Jo was born to be a mum. She loved Thomas & Evelyn with all of her heart. She also had enough love & energy within her to look after many other children too. I know lots of their families are here today and I am sure they feel incredibly lucky that their children had a piece of Jo’s warmth & calmness.
Love. Laughter. Happiness
Jo made friends where ever she went- people naturally gravitated towards someone so much fun and filled with laughter. I cannot tell you how many times we laughed together. Jo had something special. She made it almost impossible to be anything but happy when around her. Adults & children of all ages, loved this sense of fun, and her infectious smile and laughter would win them over in an instant.
For those of you who remember Jo from her teenage and University years, I’m sure you will agree that there was no such thing as a ‘boring’ night out with Jo. She was Life and Soul of every party. Infact, Jo was the party!!! We were notoriously late for every Yateley event, as we were usually having so much fun prancing round my bedroom to cheesy tunes, that we would almost forget we were supposed to be going out somewhere! To those old friends who knew Jo then, I’d like to ask you to think of your favourite ‘Jo party moment’. … Keep it close to your heart, smile, and blow her a kiss from time to time for such fabulous memories.
Love. Laughter. Happiness
Jo’s life has been filled to the brim with happiness. A happy childhood, happy adventures and a happy marriage. She also gave happiness to so many of us here today. Jo was Matron of Honour at my wedding, which was no mean feat as she was 8 months pregnant at the time! Jo of course, in usual Jo style, took this all completely in her stride. She had more energy in the run up and on the day, than 10 bridesmaids put together. She looked absolutely gorgeous in her bridesmaid dress. I remember thinking how pleased I was, that I hadn’t been asked to be anyone’s bridesmaid when I was 8 months pregnant, as I was the size of a barrel and just sort of rolled about moaning by that stage! But Jo shone as always. I was also very lucky to get a bonus bridesmaid in the form of the gorgeous Evie who was born a month later.
Thank you Jo for making my day so special.
We were all incredibly blessed to have Jo in our lives, and I think Jo would actually say that she was incredibly blessed too. She packed more Love, Laughter and Happiness into her 38 years, than some people are lucky to get in double that time.
Jo and Rob gave me the great honour of making me Evie’s Godmother, and Jo is Godmother to my eldest daughter Amy. I have told Amy she now has a very special Guardian Angel looking after her, and actually that’s what I would like to tell you all too.
We now have the most caring, kindest, fun, happy-go-lucky, smiley Angel looking down over all of us.
Love, Laughter and Happiness.