Last night on the sat phone link to Sarah she told me that my mate Mikey who has been battling stage 4 melanoma for some time was not looking good. Mikey and I recognised the similarities in both our fights some time ago, and have been connected and drawing strength of each other. The intention was that’s I’d trek across the ice and he’d trek to full health.
It seems that’s not going to happen. I was in the tent this morning ready to go bar putting my boots on. I was dreading pulling on my left boot, so I called Mikey first. I checked in with him and as usual he was chipper and brave. We talked some more then I bluntly asked him “Mikey, how long have you got ?” Selfishly willing him to be there after I got home. Equally direct Mikey said “it’s not good, days, weeks at most”.
I swallowed heavily, then asked how he was feeling about it. He was supremely brave, explained the pain was becoming unbearable and he was trying to avoid being morphined out of lucidity as much as possible. My heart bled for him, then he said something that will stay with me to my grave.
“Until my last breath, I’ll strive to find something to be grateful for…”
I burst into tears, tried to collect myself, regathered and I said my goodbye. I also explained that today Would be “Mikey’s Day”. All day across 204 rugged kilometres of Antarctica I meditated on Mikey.
Across vast ice plains, with howling wind, I made good ground. Able to block out all pain, all pangs of thirst, hunger, fatigue and just focus on Mikey and all he has endured.
Shortchanged in years, yes, but he has led a life of significance. He is a warrior, I have never seen someone with more grit, more fight, more grace. Always positive and even in the worst of times grateful.
Mikey you have left your mark, will never be forgotten, you are a gentleman and I hope in crisis I can rise up and be as brave as you have been in this fight. Your next Longest Journey begins.
God Bless you my friend.