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This Is Northern New South Wales


Unbelievably a year has passed since Jonno Howell was tragically taken from all those that knew him, whilst on vacation in Indonesia. I am sure that I echo the thoughts of many when I reacted with shock and disbelief at the news of Jonno passing.

“Surely not Jonno, someone else maybe but not him, not that guy?”

I have encountered death in life before as we all have, however most of those events previously were pre-empted with some warning and expectancy.

After Jonno left everyone who knew him was so stunned and I know for one that most of the words I muttered, including ‘surreal’ and ‘this can’t be real’, was all I could muster for days on end.

I hadn’t experienced real traumatic shock before and this was it.

Luckily as the hours turned to days, the days to weeks and the weeks to months the reality set in and the trauma faded. Through the support of friends and the communities of Byron and Tassie, everyone who knew Jonno, whether it was as a son or brother, a friend, or pub buddy, managed to acknowledge his absence and cherish the moments we had all shared with him.

The only way to move forward from times like these is with a positive momentum, and at times this can be extremely difficult when he is missed so much. However one only has to cast their minds back to their time spent with Jonno and I challenge anyone who can’t gather a smile and a laugh from those memories!

A good mate who I hadn’t seen since Jonno’s memorial paddle-out last year phoned me up on Saturday just passed and we went for a surf. In between sets we sat on our boards and discussed the year just passed and he asked how everyone was coping. I explained that it had been a hell of a year but everyone was back on track, but at times it was hard to explain the mixed emotions. He mentioned that he had just heard a great eulogy for a recently passed footballer and that it had parts that were equally fitting for Jonno.

I can’t remember Eddie’s exact words, and I dare not consult ‘the Google’ for the actual eulogy, however he said something along the lines of his ‘spirit lives on in every blade of grass, each water droplet and every sunset’. This was all I heard of his quote before I swung round and into a nice 3-foot close-out at Broken, but it had made its mark.

Jonno’s heart warming presence will live on there is no doubt, take a moment on Thursday to simply look up at the sky and acknowledge him and your own luckiness for just being alive and the joy that comes with it!

I know I will!

A memorial gathering for Jonno will be held at Wategos on Thursday 5th April.