We said goodbye to our dear friend Joanna Witt last weekend.
Her totally unexpected and very sudden death was caused by sepsis. She was 43. She leaves behind her partner, Oliver and her three young boys, Henry, Digby and Ned. We are devastated.
I first met Jo in Cairns, Australia in 2000 when we were both backpacking. The hostel we were staying at hosted a cheese and wine party and it was there that we became friends, laughing over the lack of sophistication of cheap wine and squares of cheese on cocktail sticks.
Since then we have had a lot of fun together: from dolphin-spotting, pool parties and karaoke in Sydney, to more parties, meals out and playing in the park with her boys back on home turf in London.
Jo was warm, vibrant and great fun. She was also intelligent, hard-working and supportive – exactly the type of person you want both as friend and on your team. Therefore, I was thrilled when she agreed to come on board as one of my first associates, bringing with her heaps of experience from her career as a journalist, producer and digital strategist for companies such as the BBC, Haymarket and Lexis Nexis.
She was determined, feisty and believed that you could do anything if you put your mind to it. So I think she would agree when I say that her death shows that you have to make the most of what you have got, right now, as you never know what is around the corner.
Love with all your heart, laugh until you wet yourself, spend lots and lots of time with family and friends. Follow your dreams – however crazy they may seem. Stand up for what you believe in. Have that glass of wine or piece of cake. Wear your best dress every day. Climb that mountain. Run that marathon. Explore the world. Sleep in. Hug everyone. Challenge yourself. Reward yourself. Do all the stuff that brings you pleasure.
Do what Joanna Witt did and squeeze every ounce that you can out of this wonderful, precious, fragile life we have.
We are going to miss you Jo, you spectacular human you. So happy to have been able to share in so much fun with you, and so devastated to say goodbye. The world is a darker place without you.