"This is just not how my story should go," she says with heartbreaking resignation and trademark defiance.
It's Sunday morning just a few weeks before her passing and Jill Emberson is sitting on the verandah of her stylish home. A blazing sun is climbing into a perfect blue sky, Merewether beach can be glimpsed in the distance and a heavy blanket is draped over her lower body.
Jill's usually glowing Polynesian skin has a disconcerting grey-green tinge.
The brutal ovarian cancer clearly has a fatal hold on her.
But her eyes are dancing as usual, she is speaking with signature effusiveness and - to coin the phrase she has now immortalised - she is very much "still Jill".
"This is not how my story was supposed to go," she says, or words to that effect.
"I was going to do so many things and grow old doing even more things."
I can't remember the precise words because this is familiar territory. Jill is reiterating her most fundamental beliefs, her raison d'etre. Perhaps to remind herself as much as me. It has been the constant theme of the bond we formed during our years as friends and colleagues.
Jill believed in justice. Everything she said and did anchored in an unwavering conviction that the good guys would have to fight long and hard for what's right but, ultimately, the bad guys would get what was coming to them and justice would prevail.
Oh, and the good guys were usually girls.
But Jill's beliefs had been shaken. On the one hand, the "bad guys" seemed to be flying high; winning office, grabbing pussies with impunity, cutting aid, obfuscating, victim-blaming, fiddling while Roma burned, and ignoring the future.
And here she was, a warrior for fairness and equity, a journalist that demanded transparency, a storyteller who gave voice to the voiceless - and she had no future.
So unjust. Not right. Not how the story is supposed to go. Of course, Jill's story isn't finished.
She does have a future. She just isn't here to see it.
"Don't forget me," she implores her friend and colleague, my wife, Karen "Kip" Shrosbery.
"We won't," Kip replies.
She might as well have said; "we can't".
Jill's legacy will endure in a thousand lives and a million different ways.
In those who grew fond of her exuberant presenting style on radio, in her seemingly endless back catalogue of old friends from different chapters of her life, in her dynamic "chip off the block" daughter and, of course, those that might live because of how Jill chose to die, fighting for research funds so that those who come after her might escape her fate.
It's impossible to imagine a world without Jill Emberson. She was as alive as any human I've ever met. If Jill was around, you knew about it. She could be loud, sure, but it wasn't that. She had an inescapable presence.
Her life force was like a firehose. It is why, I imagine, she succeeded in broadcasting. "Impossible to ignore" is a good trait for someone who wants you to spend three hours a day with them.
Jill's mind moved fast. It juggled lots of complicated thoughts simultaneously. She was capable of incisive brevity and verbose rambling. She was cultured and cosmopolitan but salt of the earth and unpretentious.
She was angry about lots of things and yet paradoxically gentle, empathetic and merciful. She was obsessive about getting things right and perfectly happy to abandon the rule book when it suited. Blunt and tactful. Elegant and rough. But always authentic. Always.
And so it was that warm Sunday morning. No one under any illusions. The end is nigh. We'd tried to strike the balance between spending quality time with Jill as the cancer tightened its grip, but not imposing on the precious time she had left with her beloved husband Ken and daughter Malia.
As a result, we know in our heart these would likely be our last moments together.
It is raw. I ask questions about what is happening to her body. She answers with confronting honesty. I whisper during a hug that I miss seeing her every day.
She vents her hatred of cancer and what it has robbed from her and she implores us to keep her memory alive. But it is also real. Really fun and really funny.
"Look at the fluid in these legs," she says, with pantomime disgust. "I always had such good pins and look at the state of them."
Jill speaks French and discusses art with our four-year-old, asks if we'd seen any good cinema before offering an elaborate review of something she has recently binged when she couldn't sleep, talks lovingly about her daughter and knowledgably about geo-political posturing in the Pacific. She is visibly moved recalling the moment a "flashmob" choir invaded her backyard and sang their thanks for her devotion to advocacy.
She had 50 years of magic still to offer the world. Maybe a thousand years worth of questions she wanted answered.
We were forced to co-host a current affairs show when she first arrived in Newcastle, a prospect neither of us particularly relished and our early encounters, while always professional and respectful, gave little indication how fond of each other we'd become.
Ironically, we grew closer and closer after her diagnosis, we realised we'd wasted that time and time had become a luxury.
If she read this, I reckon Jill would be vaguely irritated that a middle-aged white bloke was writing his version of her story but I like to think, and hope, she'd also be delighted that a friend wanted to preserve his version of her memory.
Jill wanted the world to be a better, fairer, kinder and more honest place. She devoted her life to trying to make that happen through her broadcasting, her journalism, her compassion and her advocacy.
If justice came easily, she'd have been given another 50 years to keep doing all those things in her inimitable style.
But justice doesn't come easy, and she didn't get the years she deserved, and so it falls to all of us to continue her fight now she is no longer leading us into that battle.
Because in the Jill Emberson story she deserved, rather than the one fate handed her, the good guy wins in the end.
And by good guy, I mean great girl.
- A public memorial service for Jill Emberson will be held on Thursday from 10am at Newcastle City Hall.
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN NEWS TODAY