Michael loved life and lived it to the fullest. He did more in his short 27 years than most do in a full lifetime. He will be missed terribly by all those whose lives he touched.

Memories of Michael

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From: Edmond Gozo (August 2005)
photos will be posted soon

I met Mike only briefly during his stay here in the Philippines. He worked closely with some very good friends of mine, but the total amount of time I spent with Mike probably worked out to something like two or three evenings and two weekends -- during our classes and our weekends at the beach; I was Mike's dive instructor.

I have nothing but good memories of Mike. We had a bit of a time working out our busy weekday schedules so that we could do his classes, but we managed it because he was so interested in learning, and I was excited to teach him. I mean, I love teaching in general, but it is so much more rewarding, and fun, when the students themselves are really enthusiastic about it.

And Mike was very enthusiastic. :)

We ended up going with a very small class for the weekend of his graduation. Actually, it was just him who was taking the class, accompanied by our friend Pinky (also from Accenture; I'm ex-Accenture), and at least for one day (we spent a weekend at the beach), two of my students who had just finished their course and just wanted to dive with us. The two returned to the city that evening, so for that night and the rest of the weekend, it was just me and Mike and Pinky. And that's where we really got to know each other more.

Actually, even during the day, though we were doing class "work", we talked a lot. Laughed a lot. :) We both shared a pretty deep knowledge of inane facts, movie lines, and a weird propensity to talk in accents. "Because everything is funnier with an accent." :) And we talked a lot about the outdoors, which Mike, Pinky, and I are huge fans of. Open spaces. Fresh air. The sky. The ocean.

We had amazing conditions that weekend. The water was crystal clear and calm, the sun was bright so everything underwater was vividly colored. And we saw a whole lot of beautiful animals, including three sharks in one dive, which had never ever happened before, not at the site where we did his first ocean dive. Pretty amazing.

I didn't get to take pictures of the sharks, but I do have a lot of photos of that weekend. I'll be sending a link in a separate mail to the two albums, Mike's first dive weekend, and his latest trip with us, in June of this year. I hope you enjoy them and that they bring more sunshine to your memories of Mike.

I was very sorry to hear about what happened to him, and wished that I had gotten to spend more time with him than I had. Apart from the time together in person, we did have some e-mail exchanges, especially as he was getting ready for his return here last June, and he was, as always, the fun and funny guy I knew him to be.

Sad as I am that he had to leave us so soon, I am grateful that I at least got to meet him, and got to know him. He had an exuberance, a passion for life that immediately endeared him to those of us who shared the same fire, and infected the ones around him who dreamed of seeing the world as he did.

To you, his family, I offer my deepest condolences and sympathies, and also my warmest regards, and my thanks, for the friend I had in Mike, for the wonderful person he was.

Edmond Gozo

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