Monday, 14 May 2012

Death of my friend Michael McCarthy

Yesterday I received a bolt from the blue when I opened up what I thought would be a friendly email from an old friend whom I met at Durham University while studying my Master's. The email turned out to be news that my dear friend Michael (Mike) McCarthy passed away on 5 May following a heart attack.

There are moments in life when the world stops spinning. They usually involve either love, birth or death. This was one of those moments.

Mike was an American, whom I met when I went back to Durham to begin my MA in international studies. We became very good friends during that year and stayed in touch ever since. I traveled to his wedding in the States and we met several times, the last of which was in 2010. He was one of the best people I've had the privilege to know. He was compassionate, funny and devastatingly intelligent. A unique man, who I had always assumed would be my friend until we grew old. A transatlantic friendship of genuine warmth.

It seems unreal that I won't ever speak to him or see him again. I dare not let my mind start down memory lane, but I cannot avoid it. They are universally happy memories.

Taking a dip into the twittersphere yesterday, I noticed a deluge of white noise and chatter (which I have contributed to and do not condemn). It all seems so meaningless, fake even, when contemplating a human life lost too soon and the basis of friendship and love, which of course resides in real human contact.

Mike had so much to offer the world in so many ways and would have gone on to reach even greater heights had he lived. Last summer Mike wrote for a pamphlet I was editing. You can read it here. His essay stands as a testament to his incredible talent as a political writer (when in fact he was a lawyer by profession). The next Pragmatic Radicalism pamphlet shall be dedicated to his memory.

His death is a tragedy for him, for his wife and their son, for his family and for all his friends. We are all poorer without him and the world has lost a rare and lovely man who had every right to look forward to his life with his new family. Life is precious and life is fleeting. I hope that in my life, I am able to do him proud. My buddy is no longer around. I'll find ways to honour his memory in the coming months and years. He won't be forgotten and he will be sorely missed.

Rest In Peace Mike.

From your friend,

John

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