I recently ran across this quote from Dr. Suess: “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
This quote stayed on my mind this past week as I searched my treasure box of most meaningful memories. It wasn’t until the Super Bowl this past Sunday that the memory came into focus. Although I am not a die-hard football fan (except for the Crimson Tide), the Super Bowl has always been a special event for me and my family. At the forefront of this ultimate sports extravaganza, is the memory of our dear brother David. He loved the Super Bowl. As generous and hard-working as he was (coming to our rescue if we had a flat tire, electrical problem, illness, or ANY request), all time stopped on Super Bowl Sunday. What makes Super Bowl Sunday so special for us is that David died on Super Bowl Sunday in 2005 after a heroic eighteen-month fight with cancer. One of my sisters recalled that, as she and her husband were visiting with him just two nights before he died, David was already anticipating the Super Bowl and hoping that the New England Patriots would win. As we were gathered at his bedside during his last hours, we coaxed him on to his heavenly journey, reminding him that he would have the “best seat in the house” to watch the game. He died right before the start of the game. The Patriots came through for him, 24-21, against the Philadelphia Eagles.
I am certain that David journeyed to heaven by way of Jacksonville, Florida so he could watch the Patriots’ victory. After all, our home town Pensacola is much closer to Jacksonville than Heaven and I can just hear David telling God, “First things, first!” I know of this tenacity from one of my brothers and their working buddies as they shared stories of their time working together on power plant startups in New York. They shared that he was always so polite to people: “How are you doing? Good Day! He was always smiling comfortably in his skin; he just was unafraid.” His license plate even reflected this spirit- NO GRIEF.
In 2012, the Patriots were playing the Giants in the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. Just like David, all time stopped for me and I watched the game. Why? Because I knew Angel David would be there. I surmised that he probably convinced God of his need to be present for the Patriots and he most likely successfully won permission to bring all his Super Bowl buddies with him. I was sure there was one SUPER-DUPER tailgaiting party going on in heaven throughout the night.
What a game!!!! The Patriots tried so hard the last 50 seconds or so to score a touchdown to beat the Giants. Yet, for most of the game they were ahead. I felt a real adrenalin rush at their last-ditched effort to come through for the win and heard myself shouting for David to help them out. Believe it or not, I shed a little tear for their loss, but I think I heard David say, “Sis, it’s all right, the score shows they are BOTH the best. And don’t forget, I was in New York for several years and attended a few Giants’ games. Though I love the Patriots, I’m OK with the Giants winning since they were part of my life too.”
The following Scripture quote exemplifies the value of cherished memories:
“Take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things you have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, …teach them to your children and to your children’s children.” Deuteronomy 4:9
If Angel David would have studied the Rule of St. Benedict, I think he would have understood and practiced the following admonitions from Chapter 4 (The Tools for Good Works):
• …love the Lord God with your whole heart, your whole soul and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:37-39).
• Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.
• Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love. (RB 4:25-26)
His life reminds me to live as he lived. His funeral memorial card gifted us with the following message:
“Grieve not…nor speak of me with tears…but laugh and talk with me as though I were beside you. I loved you so…
‘twas Heaven.” See you at every Super Bowl, David, and in heaven when we get there. Save us a seat!
By Sister Priscilla Cohen, OSB