Kentucky Stories of Loss

Are We Not Our Brother's Keeper?

Who did you lose to Covid 19? Andy H.

I am still angry about it. I am angry at Andy and at myself for not asking questions. Andy was a math prodigy. Yes, his father was a beloved math teacher, so maybe for Andy math was naturally a part of him. Can you be a prodigy and still make a miscalculation?

Andy came to work in our group in June 2011 right after graduating from Purdue. His technical skills were tops among his peers. His project management skills were fantastic, if largely just because Andy could do anything and so he just did it all. As years passed, and he was the senior analyst and a consultant, the newer analysts would enjoy learning from him – and the facile way he conveyed concepts to them. He always delivered early and consistently, there was no procrastination in Andy. Was there?

So, it was with some chagrin I imagine, that Andy texted me on July 30, 2021, to say he had COVID. “I’ll let you know … or if they need to hospitalize me. The latter is unlikely because my oxygen numbers are still good.” On August 2, we talked and by way of explanation, he said “I don’t really like needles … I procrastinated on getting the shot”.

I was surprised. We consulted to large companies on their health benefit plans. We both were fully aware of the risks and recommendations. Weren’t we?
email, Aug. 2, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Andy H. asked me this morning to share the following statement with you:
“I am recovering from COVID and related secondary maladies at Deaconess Hospital. My prognosis is good but the recovery time is long … (there is) no official timeline … best guess is discharge Friday night or Saturday morning.”

But you are a strong young man of 33. You have no comorbidities. You will recover and you will learn a valuable lesson about life, I was sure. And we would laugh together about how it’s a little embarrassing that you procrastinated on the shot. Won’t we?

email, Aug. 27, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness and regret that I share that Andy passed away yesterday. I know this will come as a shock as it has been shocking to me.

Andy brought so much to our team. His brilliance, his wry wittiness but mostly his underlying sense of care for us and the great work that we do. I have been in contact with HR and his family. We will schedule some time soon for our practice to share our feelings, but for now just want to acknowledge the profound loss we and the world have just experienced. Please keep his family and each other in your thoughts and prayers.

Kind regards–

December 4, 2022. Hey Andy, I miss you. I am still mad at you and at myself. It gnaws at me. I shouldn’t feel survivor’s guilt. Should I?

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