For most people, Super Bowl Sunday is about football, eating, laughing at commercials. Although I’m not a huge football fan, I’ve always enjoyed watching the Super Bowl. Chalk it up to the fact that I moved to Texas during the Dallas Cowboys’ heyday. I still remember camping out on the floor of our living room surrounded by snacks (we were never allowed to eat in there) when they won in 1995.
Although Cowboy victories are a thing of the past, I still tune in each year. In 2011, I watched from the hospital with Ben and my mother-in-law. Ben was a die-hard Green Bay fan, and it was such a disappointment for him to be cooped up while his favorite team was playing just 20 miles away. We made the best of it with way too much food and running commentary throughout the entire game. (We didn’t even realize it when Christina Aguilera flubbed a line in the anthem or how silly the half time show looked – the tiny hospital tv made it look pretty neat.)
For 2012 the game was again watched with my in-laws, this time at their house. Ben was out of the hospital and approaching a year post-transplant. Stephen was in Afghanistan, so I wasn’t in the best of spirits. I showed up wearing sweatpants and spent the entire game eating spinach artichoke dip.
I couldn’t tell you who played last year. I watched the game like a zombie. A group of us hastily arranged ourselves once again at my mother-in-law’s house, once again with snacks galore, but this time without Ben. The game was held the day after he died. Being that he was a dedicated sports fan, it seemed right to watch it and think of him, to imagine him watching from the best seat in the house.
I have thought about watching the game this year. I want to cheer along with everyone else and pretend that it’s a normal day. But it won’t be. February 2nd is the anniversary of Ben’s death. A year before, I held his hand as he slipped away. The memory of everyone’s faces, red and wet as we hugged each other and sobbed, is still fresh.
Ben’s death had been inevitable. He was born with Cystic Fibrosis, which has a median predicted age of survival in the mid-30′s (Source). The lung transplant Ben received was nothing short of a miracle. It gave him the chance to leave the hospital and live life on his terms. Sadly, half of lung transplant recipients don’t live more than 5 years post-transplant (source). Ben didn’t even make it two.
If you aren’t already, I urge you to consider becoming an organ donor. You can register here. Be sure to talk to your family so that they know your wishes. If you have the means, please consider donating to Great Strides, the fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In addition to your gift helping to find a cure for those still fighting CF, it also gives comfort to those of us who’ve already lost a loved one to the disease.