"I HAVE HAD A HAPPY LIFE AND THANK THE LORD. GOODBYE AND MAY GOD BLESS ALL!"
Recorded in Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer
Our friend Carl DeSilva told me of his last visit with Russ.
They had gone out to a forest preserve to hike the wooded trails on a pleasant day in early June.
Carl says they had been following a long uphill stretch for a while, and Russ called for a break. He was short of breath.
Knowing Russ' past health problems, Carl said that he suggested to Russ that he get a second opinion to the doctors prognosis he had gotten at the Veteran's Hospital.
Carl then said to me, "Remember how Russ could look at you and lock eyes with you and you just knew that what he was saying was important? Like he was looking into you?"
"Well," Carl continued, "it was just me and Russ in an open clearing on a hilltop in the forest. And the bright sunshine just poured down into that clearing.
"And Russ looked down upon me and, in a sad, serious voice, said, "Carl, I'm tired. I miss my Mom and Dad."
Carl added, "Mike, what could I say. I didn't say anything.
"But I'll always remember that moment."