A long farewell to Mike
These last couple of months my friends and I have been saying a long goodbye to our friend Mike Reid. Mike was diagnosed with a brain tumor the week before Christmas and he passed away this morning, 27 February.
The prognosis was not at all good, the cancer was inoperable and within a month Mike was in a wheelchair, having difficulty in finding certain words and struggling to follow trains of thought. Radiation treatment at the best only offered a temporary stay. So Mike decided, some 13 days ago, to take things into his own hands and he stopped radiation treatment and stopped taking any further nourishment – a very brave step indeed.
I can only imagine what thoughts went through Mike’s mind when he was wrestling with what was now his very limited future, and I cannot really know what kind of resolve it takes to stop eating and drinking until you die. All I do know is that, if you are otherwise healthy and strong, which Mike was, then this route is not particularly rapid - it took Mike 13 days. (Alas we are not as enlightened as our neighbors to the north in Oregon who passed a “Death with Dignity Act” to assist the terminally ill depart this world. It’s time we had something similar.).
I am not sure that I would advocate for the other extreme of too quick and easy an exit (everyone needs time to come to terms with the decision), but 13 days was a long struggle and, while I do not believe he was in any discomfort at any time, the latter stages were drawn out.
He will be dearly missed by all of us here.
The photograph below was taken in September of last year on the way up Half-Dome in Yosemite. I do believe at this point he was as fit as he had ever been, at least in this stage of his life.
Here is a link to some other photos of Mike - mainly taken on hiking trips over the last few years.