Monday, 19 December 2011


Sometimes in life we meet people with whom we don't have to make an effort. Such people are rare and their friendships special. I feel honoured to have met several people who fit into this category and I consider them my best friends.

This time last year I lost one of these special people. He hadn't been my friend that long in the grand scheme of things, I'd only known him about 18 months. And yet Mike had a way of making you feel like you'd known him forever. He was one of the most laid back people I have ever met and it didn't take much to make him happy; a bottle of Brother's cider, his iPhone, cycling, his "ladies" (by which I mean his bikes) and, once he moved to the Cayman Islands, scuba diving. One of my few regrets is that I never got to dive with him.

Mike's death hit me hard. He was four weeks older than me and my first close friend to die. In fact Mike's death hit everyone hard. As the news spread nearly 300 friends left tributes to him on Facebook. So many of them had never met each other and yet they shared similar memories. He wasn't one to change the way he was around different people. Mike was just Mike and everyone loved him for that.

Writing this feels a little surreal, partly because it's still hard to believe Mike isn't still in the Cayman Islands enjoying himself and partly because Mike would be the first person to tell me to stop being such a girl. So, in the spirit of optimism that Mike was well known for, yesterday, on the year anniversary of his death, I was reminiscing about the good times and the little things that made a normal guy so special. Here are some of my memories.

The first time I met Mike I was fairly certain I'd never see him again. If he'd have been any other person I probably wouldn't have. Mike and I met soon after we both moved to Oxford and went for drinks. Unfortunately this meet up didn't go as planned - I had food poisoning and passed out in the pub toilets, leaving him to come last in the pub quiz. Mike being Mike took all this in his stride, called a taxi and took me home to my housemates before walking home himself. It was a strange start to a good friendship but on that day I realised that Mike was special.

From that day on we did a lot together. He taught me how to drive in snow when about three inches fell whilst we were out for curry one night. He taught me how to use my iPhone. He introduced me to one of my favourite films. We laughed together over How I Met Your Mother. None of it sounds that special I know but somehow he had a way of making it so. It's easy to think that the only reason my memories are so fond is because Mike is no longer here, but you only need to read his Facebook wall, or the comments following a blog post written by some of his Cayman friends immediately after his death to know that that's not true. Mike was quite simply one of the good guys. I mean just look at that grin...

Miss you Red Hoody Guy!