My friend Gary Reece, who I called brother in prison and beyond, is in a Cincinnati hospital dying. I just spoke with his wife Rita on the phone.
She was in bed next to him. They’d just removed his feeding tube because his gastro is shutting down and he keeps aspirating. Not long to go. I’m glad I called his cell phone, though I never expected anyone to answer it after receiving John Milton’s somewhat cryptic message yesterday that “Gary is being removed from life support this morning and may last hours or days.” I feel like a dick because I’ve avoided Gary’s calls for the past year or so — because he never lets me off the phone and he reminds me of prison. He was just in Cleveland three weeks ago and I didn’t even know. He’d overcome leukemia last year. Celebrated his 51st birthday on June 28th — and that’s the day he fell ill again. White mass in his brain. Experts first thought it might be a recurrence of the cancer, but no. It might be an irreversible side effect of the radiation that “cured” him. Doctors aren’t sure and have widely varying opinions. Rita approved an autopsy so they can figure out what happened and hopefully help future others with the info. Now I feel I need to dig through my boxes to find photos from 2004 and prior of me and Gary. I want to say “rest in peace” though he’s not yet gone and I think everyone rests in peace regardless of what we say. Still, I’m crying.
Read the WCPO article here.