Death of a Real Superman
1 Last Sunday, the world lost one of its greatest on-and off-screen heroes. Christopher Reeve. Superman. My childhood hero.
2 Christopher Reeve left us on October 10, 2004, after slipping into a coma a day after he suffered cardiac arrest.. Mankind is a little sadder with him gone, but so much the richer for having had him in it.
3 For some, it may seem unusual to cry over the loss of someone you haven't personally known, but I couldn't help but break down in grief. While there are no words to describe how truly heartbroken I am, I want to seriously address our collective loss this past weekend.
4 One of my earliest childhood memories is watching a Superman movie and wearing my Superman cape. I grew up on Superman movies and learned to read from Superman comics. I can't count how many times I dressed up as Superman for Halloween.
5 Back then, flying and a flashy outfit were enough to capture my attention, but it wasn't until I matured that I realized what made Reeve's Superman the greatest hero of all.
6 As an actor, Reeve wasn't afraid to add depth and dimension to a character that could so easily be played as two-dimensional and flat, thus his Superman was a man of strong principle and sense of justice As a human being, Reeve wasn't afraid to look adversity and hardship in the eye and [ ]face it with firm determination. In his book, Still Me, he told how he considered suicide after his riding accident to relieve his family of the burden of his condition. But his wife, Dana, told him, “You're still you, and I love you.”
7 When I read that, I realized that your worth in life isn't about your job, how much money is in your bank account or the kind of car you drive. You're not defined by what you have. You're defined by who you are and who loves you. I feel good about my life knowing that I found a wife who would no doubt be by my side if a similar tragedy were to strike me.
8 Reeve could have easily remained in rehabilitation, seldom leaving the comfort or convenience of home. He had plenty of financial resources to keep him from worrying about medical bills.
9 Instead he fought for nine years, spending much of that time using his celebrity status to give speeches, awards and to raise awareness of issues important to paraplegics. Through the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, he worked non-stop to fund research that might someday yield a cure for paralysis and to help support others with disabilities who may have limited resources.
10 Reading about his experiences after his accident made me appreciate my ability to walk, run, feel, use the restroom, even to simply breathe — things we all take for granted. But it has also made me realize that in this world of cynics, corruption and evil, there are still people out there who are beacons of hope in an otherwise dreary world.
11 Heroes are real, and Christopher Reeve was one of them. Superman made him a star, but his work to aid those with disabilities will make him a legacy.
12 So goodbye, friend. I'll miss you, and I'm sorry we never got to see you walk again. I always believed you would; regardless, I'll never forget the lessons you taught me about generosity, selflessness, confidence and strength. Those are values I grew up with and still believe in.
13 Yes, even as an adult, I still believe in my hero.