M. was a very good cyclist and a keen long-term member of the 40+ Club, with which he rode regularly once or twice a week. He was overqualified with respect to his age, just like the rest of us.
It is almost certain that M. took his own life. We owe it to him and to ourselves to try to understand, how this may have come about.
His death came as a surprise to many in the Club, especially those who shared an enjoyable cycling holiday in Majorca with him not long before his demise. However, his deafness was gradually getting worse, in spite of trying different sorts of hearing aid. He did not seem to have much luck there.
M. was not one to enjoy his own company. He engaged in a wide range of activities – cycling, walking, shooting, badminton, motoring and cribbage. Sadly, his deafness inhibited social engagement with his friends, also involved in these activities. He was becoming increasingly socially isolated
In addition, he suffered more recently from severe bronchial weakness, which made him short of breath and slow on hills, both cycling and walking. Two of his great loves were now jeopardised.
Over the last couple of years, M. had also been experiencing memory loss and/or the ability to recall names and places. This made it difficult for him to maintain a normal conversation even on a one-to-one basis. His frustration was obvious.
He had also never been one for modern technology. He refused to use the internet to the end, although he managed to use a smart ‘phone on good days. Even with increasing use of online account management, he was struggling to run his household accounts, car paperwork etc. Friends tried to help with this sort of administration; but he struggled to understand what was going on.
M. was not particularly depressed, although his mood was never easy to read. What is clear is that all of the above factors were causing him considerable concern. It is sure that they would get worse with time and it is likely that he realised this.
From what we know, it is likely that M. took a rational decision, given that he was not experiencing his earlier quality of life. He would rather not suffer any further deterioration or loss of face/respect. He did what he thought was appropriate. That cannot have been easy. We should admire him for his bravery.
RIP from one awkward bugger to another.
MH is also shares the view about what may be necessary under some conditions. A very salutary thought for us all.
M. and MH recognised the ‘awkward bugger’ in them both – well reflected in their heated engagements and altercations, which were many.
Oddly enough, they made peace, about the time MH became 40+ Chair. MH puts it down to old age on both sides and to M’s enthusiasm for the club and cycling, for which he thought MH was at last pulling a bit of weight.
RIP indeed. See you up the road!