The tragic death of Pat Cody has had a devastating effect on all who knew him. Enniscorthy and its environs are bereft. The people mourn. It is hard to comprehend that he is no longer with us.
Work in the nursing sector of St Senan’s Hospital was the catalyst that brought us together. It was Pat who guided my hesitant footsteps in those first days.
Quickly, I realised I couldn’t have a better mentor. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the service and the high standards he set ensured that early lessons stood the test of time.
He was the epitome of serenity as he dealt with the minutiae of life within a psychiatric hospital. Protocols were strictly enforced to ensure that a caring, professional service was delivered. Patients were always at the forefront of his endeavours and he firmly believed the ethos of the service should focus exclusively on their needs.
During this time, he also took on the mantle of Union representative. He was adamant that a strong and active Trade Union was not alone of benefit to workers but helped strengthen the core objectives necessary to maintain high standards of excellence. Through his hard work and dedication, this maxim, proved correct.
Gaelic games, hurling in particular, was a passion we shared. Work schedules meant we rarely attended the same game.
A report to Pat on a game you attended could be an arduous task. Informing him that a player scored 1- 7 would be greeted with a snort of derision. The time of the scores, the distance and angle from goal and how many were from placed balls, all these facts would be necessary to gain a modicum of approval. Inveterate scribbler that he was these facts were recorded on bits of paper and later transposed to the relevant match programme. Even when not in attendance he somehow managed to procure one.
Visiting him as a patient, in St Vincent’s in Dublin, you couldn’t fail to notice the collection of programmes from recent games in which Kilkenny and Wexford were involved. Added to these were programmes from club games in both counties.
There is no denying that Pat looked at inter-county contests with Black and Amber eyes, yet he wished Wexford success. I am especially grateful to him for his help and support in 1996 as Slaney chased glory. When we corralled it, in nation’s capital and brought it back home, he celebrated with us. Though he denied it, I am convinced that a portion of his heart was Purple and Gold.
Luckily, Pat and I shared many days in the sun. Those heady days of frivolity, fun and laughter saw us chase starry dreams. Now in the silence that prevails, recalling them helps brings fortitude to a broken heart. The stories of our escapades are the stuff of legend, but, even at this remove, not all are for public consumption.
Pat and I rarely disagreed but when we did it was invariably about his idiosyncratic style of filing. Documents could be found ‘behind the blue sheet in the big folder on the fourth shelve from the lef’. As the youth of today are wont to cry OMG.
In 2009, Pat’s election to the Enniscorthy UDC and Wexford County Council was an outstanding achievement. This was a vindication of Pat’s tenure amongst us.
The honesty, consideration, decency with which he treated all was returned to him by his own people. For such we were. He knew this and revelled in it. On reflection I’m certain that all of his heart was Purple and Gold. Granted, a corner of it was reserved for those he affectionately called ‘The Stripy Men’.
In vain we search the old familiar places but they remain dark and dreary. No more we’ll see this big man with the big heart come through the door. No more we’ll see his radiant smile or feel his warm embrace. No more we’ll hear his soft Kilkenny tones sing those soulful refrains. We know this and are sad.
The days since the funeral proving a desperate trial of crumbling resolve. Thankfully, solace comes in the consolation of friends and the cathartic release of bitter tears.
Soon we will dry our tears and laughter will return. We will rediscover the joy of hurling and find the energy, once more, to berate referees. This will not mean we’ve forgotten Pat. The contrary, in fact, will be the case. He will have embedded himself completely in our heart, there to reside forever.
In our grief we will not forget Pat’s wife Breda and daughter Aislinn. Friendship forged over many years will prevail and we will look after each other.
Farewell Pat, it was a pleasure and a privilege to know you, to share a part of your life, and to call you friend.
Oulart the Ballagh,