Friday, September 18, 2009

Misha Garcia, 1990-2009 R.I.P.

I just learned that Misha died this afternoon at 2:35, surrounded by family.
It will take a while to gather my thoughts. What I do know is that I'm a stronger person for having witnessed the strength of the young guy who lived less than half as long as I have.
Thanks for being part of my life, Mish. I admire you and will never forget you.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

To Misha:

I've been hoping for some me-and-you time, but I am so impressed with the large group of family and friends you have surrounding you.
There's something I've been wanting to tell you, but if I don't get a chance to do it in person, here it is:
Religion hasn't been a big part of my life, but I am a firm believer in fate, and how it decides whose paths you cross in your life.
In our case, fate set up hockey as the means for our paths to cross the first time, and for that, I am so grateful.
When I first heard of your illness and you accepted my offer to buy you a hamburger, I was so impressed with your maturity, your outlook, your determination and your overall attitude. You told me that you were volunteering with other kids at CHEO, trying to instill the same things in them. You'll also remember telling me that you couldn't understand how some of those kids would receive a diagnosis something like yours, and immediately give up.
Mish, I'm more than twice your age, but your determination taught me so much.
Ultimately, that determination wasn't enough, and your disease returned. But I take comfort in knowing that you squeezed two-and-a-half years out of life, when your doctors wouldn't commit past six months. Come to think of it, you said you weren't sure how long you would live, that it wouldn't be as long as if you had never had cancer, but you wouldn't accept any more prognoses from the doctors.
Now, my young friend, as hard as it is to accept, I think it's time to concede a bit, and let your determination down just a tiny bit.
That's what I meant tonight, when I whispered something similar in your ear. Let the doctors and nurses make you comfortable with morphine or whatever else it takes. You deserve it, and it doesn't mean you're not tough or strong. You are both, and will continue to be.
Again, I am so glad to have met you and to call you my friend. And that's a designation that is forever.