“Never had I imagined / Living without your smile / Feeling and knowing you hear me / It keeps me alive.” – Mariah Carey ft. Boyz II Men
I walk, run, or rollerblade with my yellow lab Izza around White Rock Lake every day. Dallas is not known as a particularly beautiful city, but the area around White Rock Lake is heavenly. I often think about my parents when I exercise around the lake. I wish they could accompany me on my daily walks with Izza. My father unexpectedly passed away last year after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Some of those closest to me, including my mother, suffer from mental illness. She lives with her sister in Hawaii. Maybe I will move closer to her in the near future.
For now, White Rock Lake is where I discover my daily nirvana. This is why I was so haunted by your death earlier this month on the White Rock Creek Trail.
It’s one of those things where you can feel the weight of it without actually knowing the person. It can still affect you. I often wonder about all the lives I encounter on my daily lake tours. I wonder about the lives that have circled this lake before me and the ones who will be in awe of its beauty after me. I love meeting fellow Spartans who have relocated to the South. We all share a unique connection as transplants in North Texas. I continue to marvel at the spirit and camaraderie we all share as Spartan Alumni.
Every day I pass by hundreds of people around the lake. I wonder if we had ever crossed paths.
On Tuesday, my newspaper published an interview with your wife, Patti Stevens. This is the type of story that one is hesitant to read (especially in public) for fear they will be moved to tears, but something compelled me to click the link. It could have been any one of us attacked. But on this fateful day, a man who was once a Texas A&M football star, who currently suffers from mental illness, ambushed you.
Through the interview with your wife, I discovered you guys also attended Michigan State University, moved to Texas, frequented White Rock Lake often, and own a dog. Being MSU Alumni was an intimate part of your story as well. It is amazing all the similarities we all often tend to share with each other. Although you and your wife didn’t meet until graduation, y’all had quite the Spartan connection and shared the Spartan experience.
On Saturday, we celebrated the football victory against our rival University of Michigan with the MSU Dallas Alumni Club. I wonder if any of them had the chance to read your wife’s interview this week. I will make sure to share it with everybody I know.
The more I read about you, the more I’m amazed by your superhuman feats. Your chivalry, old soul, and passion were second to none. Not to mention, you were one heck of a runner. I cannot believe you ran around the lake, nine to ten miles, three days a week. I envy the passion you lived with every day of your life. We should all be so lucky to be described as “an extremely rare individual” and “humble yet talented.” You were one of the few who had the tremendous drive “to be better and improve every day.”
Any university would be lucky to have you as an alumnus. From the sounds of it, you certainly made an impression while you were a student at MSU as well.
In her interview, your wife stated that she is trying to figure out how to go on. She hasn’t been sleeping or eating. She said she speaks slowly because her brain doesn’t feel like it works. Those types of feelings are all too familiar to me as well, but I can’t portend to know the pain she is going through right now. I hope she knows that your story has touched the lives all of us in North Texas, and of the Spartan family everywhere.
Rest In Peace David Stevens. I hope whenever your family hears “Go Green” and “Go White,” they know Spartans everywhere are keeping your family (and Golden Retriever) in their thoughts and prayers. Maybe we haven’t crossed paths before, but your life story has made a lasting impression.