Just a “STUG”
His middle name was “Patrick,” and he loved being Irish-American, so as St. Patrick’s Day approaches, I inevitably have been thinking about him more and more.
This is our first St. Patrick’s Day without Andrew Patrick Pecosh, who passed away last September. To be honest, while he certainly valued St. Patrick the man, he didn’t really like what St. Patrick’s Day has become: an excuse for wanton drunkenness while wearing green.
Not much of a drinker, our Andy. Loved cigarettes, though—and, boy! how he loved food. The stories I could tell you about his gastronomic exploits! When I think of my brother, I inevitably think back to times that we shared meals together. What do you think about when you think of loved ones now lost? I think about his beautiful blue eyes and his knowledge. I think about his laughter and his utter lack of materialism.
Kisa Gotami and The Parable of the Mustard Seed—(read it here), Psalm 31 (here), John 11:1-44 (The Raising of Lazarus): they all help when I wish to be centered. When I’m melancholy and feel like adding to it, it’s Funeral Blues by W. H. Auden (that’s right here) or McCrae’s In Flanders Fields. In his youth, Andy dreamed of being a pilot (An Irish Airman Foresees His Death); I remember that, as a teen, he had a poster of High Flight by John Gillespie Magee Jr. on his bedroom door.
I know that death comes to us all; I also know that grief is a process, and that process is typically nonlinear. I’ve taught others about how “adaptation” is the watchword when it comes to living with a profound loss. Whenever grief that has been buried a bit bubbles up to the surface, we counselors even have a name for that–it’s a STUG reaction: a Sudden, Temporary, Upsurge in Grief. This, too, shall pass, but it hurts a bit just now.
“Strange, isn’t it?” asked George Bailey’s angel, Clarence, in It’s a Wonderful Life. “Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
Forgive my use of this forum to share some personal thoughts of grief and loss; I guess I’m just really missing my big brother today.