29 June 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Thursday 29 June 2017
Jan met Michael Tracey in 1996 on the day of her arrival in Townsville, Queensland (direct from Toronto) to begin a 15 month work visa. She was wisked straight from the airport to the hospital for a tour and to be introduced to the staff, including Mic, before being taken to the nearby nurses quarters. He volunteered to drive her jet-lagged butt to a Malaysian restaurant where the gang was gathering that evening because he didn't want her to miss out. They became best friends and remained in constant contact as she moved from Australia to Canada, back to Brisbane and then ran off to cruise around the world.
I first met and became friends with Mic in 2012 upon our arrival in Townsville after sailing down from PNG. He celebrated our arrival by getting us knee walking drunk to subsequently suffer the agony of a two day hangover (second day requires a bit of maturity). Avoided coming down on the sorry rascal too hard as we might have been responsible for some slight culpability in the matter.
In tall shoes Mic was about 5 feet nothin' probably due treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma as a kid, but after a few minutes you didn't noticed and he didn't seem aware of it either. He never had it easy, but didn't let it get him down. Always upbeat even after getting sick and always able to make you laugh and feel good. It was impossible not to love the guy.
Two years ago a melanoma was found in his eye. His doctors recommended treatment in the U.K. because for some reason it couldn't be done in Melbourne, but the Australian medical system pissed around for two months before approving it. (Didn't Donald Trump recently praise public healthcare delivery in Oz?) I don't know all circumstances, but do know that melanoma is so dangerous because it so readily metastasizes and that failure to immediately treat seems unconscionable. The eye was eventually radiated in an attempt to save it, but that failed and it was even later before it was finally removed. Too late. Liver metastases were detected last year.
We last saw Mic during a ski trip this March when we all stayed at buddy Lesley's cabin near South Lake Tahoe. His endurance was down and he didn't ski, but was otherwise the same Mic as always. Jan mentioned when we left that she feared we wouldn't see him again. In remission for a time, the cancer returned within the month in a very aggressive form. He died this morning.
The maxim that the good die young seems a bit dubious given my continued presence, but sadly too true for Mic. He was a good nurse, a good friend, a good guy and way too young to die. Anyway, good seems pretty lame when describing him. As was written about my father by a buddy in his WWII squadron group, "nobody didn't like him". That was Mic. Not a bad epitaph. Everyone whose life was enriched by knowing Mic will miss him. I know I will.
"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it." - Mark Twain