Editor’s Note: On Labor Day afternoon, Cathy (Correia) and David Oliveira were returning home to New Bedford from New Hampshire when they died in a motorcycle accident. They were both 57. Cathy, a teacher at Normandin Middle School, and David, a department manager at Lowe’s in Dartmouth, were the parents of three children, Justin, Ashley and Brittany. During their funeral Mass Monday at a packed St. Mary Church in South Dartmouth, Brittany remembered her mother and father with a special tribute to their long-lasting bond --- the couple first met when they were just 14. Cathy’s sister Pamela Clarkson also offered her thoughts on the tragedy and the lessons it might teach. At the family’s invitation, The Standard-Times is sharing words from their eulogies; Saturday, Sept. 15, would have been the Oliveiras’ 34th wedding anniversary.

 

Brittany Oliveira:

“Today I stand up here as the daughter of David and Cathy Oliveira, which I’ve never been prouder to say.

Over the last week, my parents’ beautiful love story has been shared and, as I’m sure most of you know, it was a love story that spanned over 40 years.

When I was a teenager, trying to find my cellphone my dad hid, I came across a box of love notes from their teenage years. My dad found out and forbid me to read them. So like any good teenage daughter would do, I read them.

To start off this eulogy, I want to rewind 41 years to Jan. 1 1977.

On this day my dad wrote:

“Hi fine, What’s up? Nothing much here but that I’m goin out with a fine chick. Cathy, you don’t have to worry about anyone because I like you so much. All day, I think about you. Guess what? I cut my hair, I’m sorry ok. If you don’t want to be seen with me at the dance tell me.. I hope you like this poem I wrote.”

Cathy, you’re so fine

I’m glad cause your mine

I love you very much so

I’ll never let you go

You treat me so good

Like no one else could

Your a great lover

Your like no other

If you ever leave me flat

I’d kill myself after that

But any chance I’m free

We’ll be together just you and me

Who knew David Oliveira was such a romantic. I guess he was smitten. This was the same guy that infamously walked miles in the Blizzard of ‘78 with just a T-shirt on to see her. How lucky to find your soulmate at 14 years old.

But this is just the beginning. Their young innocent love grew stronger. They were together for 9 years before getting married. And then came the fun part, having kids. My mom always told me my dad only wanted one child. Lucky for me, mom didn’t listen to dad much.

My parents were opposites in many ways. But their values were the same. Family was everything. Their commitment to each other and their kids was their first priority.

Growing up, my parents’ mission was to make sure we had as many childhood memories as possible. Whether it was driving down to Ft. Myers for spring training, or camping all up the East Coast, they made sure, no matter the financial situation, every 4th of July there was a trip planned. Even if mom had to go to Wendy’s to get plastic utensils. 

(Brittany then quoted from 1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."

Love is patient. And boy, in 43 years their love proved to be patient. No relationship is perfect but their resilience and faith in each other got them through it. They knew that no matter what, they had the comfort of each other.

Love does not envy. My parents’ love was a love so confident. My mom was a social butterfly whose daily schedule was so packed, my dad spent most of his days waiting patiently for her. Though they were complete opposites, they completed each other. They never tried to change one another.

My parents’ life virtues will always live on. My dad taught strength and patience. His infectious personality was admired by everyone … whom he touched. When my dad was around he was my protector. He had a tough exterior with the softest heart.

My mom taught me to never stop fighting for what you want and it’s never too late to conquer your dreams.

When I was in elementary school, my mom was working 2nd shift and didn’t get to see us much. She volunteered in school as much as possible. That’s what led her to realize teaching was her passion. She started her teaching degree at 36. The next 8 years, as tough as it was, she made it happen. And my dad supported her each step of the way doing whatever it took to make sure our everyday needs were not an additional burden to her.

Although my parents are gone, the lessons they taught me will stay with me forever. Every decision I make, I know they will not only be guiding me in spirit, but also with values they instilled in me.

Mom and Dad, although your wings were ready, our hearts were not.

We Love You."

 

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Excerpts from eulogy by Pamela Clarkson:

“… There are so many reasons I could be really angry right now but I have decided to be at peace with this … It was God’s plan, not mine.

Do I understand it? Absolutely not!!!

Will I ever understand it? Hopefully someday I will see the big picture.

Is it going to be hard? It’s going to be extremely hard.

Do I think I can do it? Absolutely but only by the power of God and your prayers for wisdom, strength, peace and discernment …

… I ask just one more thing of you… Love your families like it was your last day together. Kiss them goodnight and tell them you love them. Thank them for everything they do for you... Watch over them closely.

Forgive people and be the first to apologize. Don’t stay angry. Life is short.

Spend time with the ones you love.

They say if you want to know who you really are, just reflect on what you spend most of your time doing….

Time is really all we have so use it wisely …”