challenge accepted!

remember the time we lost Superman?

It was early October of 2004, and I was sprawled on my green sofa snacking on Haribo gummies, waiting for my straight-as-sin hair to dry into hopefully-luscious curls.  My sofa was the stuff of dreams, which is– long story, short– why I didn’t have a bed.

I heard a tap on the door, and I looked up to see my big brother poking his head into my room.

“Gotta minute, sis?” he said.

“Yehp, whath’sup?” I replied with my mouth full of semi-chewed red gummy, and my hair full of rollers.

haribo_kiss“You’re disgusting.” he deadpanned.

“Your face is disgusting. Boom.” I retaliated instantly, all the while offering him a Haribo.

He took one and sat down.  It was yellow, but he ate it anyway.

He never ate the yellow ones.

“What’s wrong?” I prodded, turning to face him on the couch, tucking my cold feet under his legs.  The pillows shifted and I could see one of my old comic books squished under the cushion.  I pulled it out and hit his leg repeatedly, knowing full well that it made him madder than a wet hen.

He yanked the comic away from me, folded it out calmly on his lap and said, “I just wanted to be the one to tell you…”  He paused and the tension slid goosebumps across my skin.  “Christopher Reeve passed on today.”

I looked at him blankly, not understanding.

“But we’re going to save him,” My voice was small and confused, and was met with patient silence.  “But.  He’s Superman.”  My voice seemed to diminish with each syllable, but the silence that grew in the aftermath of my shock was giant in size.

I was shrinking.

I was shaking.  I was lost.

Normally I would just fall into one of the panels of my paper book.  The heroes in there would save anyone– big or small, brown or white, girl or guy.  But not today.

Today, there was no Superman.

My brother opened his arms and I fell into them instead, sobbing.  He dried the tears on my cheek murmuring, “Cry me a handful, little one”, and I did.  I cried a handful and then a bucketful, and finally stopped.

At a moment between hiccups and sniffling, my brother nudged my chin up and asked, “Ya know he wasn’t really Superman, right?”

“You never did understand.” I sniffled. “We’re all Superman.  He called for our help, and we didn’t make it on time.”

“You tried.  I’m sure the Man of Steel had something like that happen before.” he said, pointing at my stack of comics.  “What did he do? Give up and turn into a gummy-eating mess?”

I thought about it and then reluctantly answered.  “Eventually he puts on his suit, I ‘spose, and keeps on keeping on.”

“Eventually?”

“Yeah,” I said.  “…  but first– first— he grieves.”

So I laid my head back on my brother’s shoulders, and let the big fat crocodile tears wash away my heartbreak.

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A double challenge! Weekly Writing Challenge: Gonzo Writing and Remember The Time : Receiving Big News

remember the time blog hop

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The Christopher Reeve foundation is always looking for supporters and donations. We'll solve it all one day.  Nothing is impossible.
The Christopher Reeve foundation is always looking for supporters and donations. We’ll solve it all one day. Nothing is impossible.

“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve

What’s your definition of a hero?

64 comments

  1. I remember referring to that quote the night my grandmother died…So I guess I will say that sums it up well. She was my hero several times over, no doubt.

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  2. I keep writing and deleting, writing and deleting. Can’t clarify what I want to say.
    For me heroism is not just about strength and bravery. It is those who work hard, live honestly and give kindness unconditionally.

    I like this quote too:
    “Work for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress. Don’t strive to make yourself noticed, just make your absense felt.”

    Perhaps we *are* all Superman 😉

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  3. For me a hero is a person who puts the life of another in front of their own. Fire fighters and military are the greatest examples of real life heroes, imho.

    I think Christopher Reeve was awesome, a real inspiration and a “super” man.

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  4. Superman is in all of us. We don’t need to fly, our super powers are perhaps more limited. But yesterday I met Superman again. Her name is Dr. Heidi Gray and she swooped in last year and with AMAZING powers of surgery and radiation and persistence, she saved my life! Yay, to all the Supermen out there and the people they save. Everyday.

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  5. Just this Christmas I bought Superman II the Donner cut. I don’t remember him passing but I definitely remember Superman. He was perfect as the hero and as the nerdy Clark.

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    1. The Donner cut is POWERFUL… I’ve referenced the Brando/Jor-El and Reeves/Kal-El/Clark redemption/repowering scene a number of times in my own blog.

      I think the image of Superman is very potent, and Reeves really brought that home to us, that Superman is within all of us. No question that his courage and example of his paralyzing accident in his own life inspired many of us in a deep and meaningful way.

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  6. Superman is an unlucky roll for men named “Reeve.” It was a terrible accident. I ride … and I could reconstruct it in my head. It made me shiver. I think by the time he passed, he was ready.

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  7. I never fully understood how people could feel the death of a celebrity, someone they didn’t really know, so deeply…until Davy Jones passed away almost two years ago. Because it’s not so much about the person, as it is about what that person represents to you. And when that person represents something close to your heart, it hurts to lose them. I know we have talked about my Monkees fanaticism before, so when DJ died, in a way it felt like an old friend had been lost. I had cherished experiences wrapped up in him, coming of age memories, and so on. So I totally get this piece, and I do remember what a collectively sad day this was for a lot of people. Not only did he symbolize the idea of the iconic hero, but we all witnessed the grace and strength with which he handled the lot life had given him, making him a hero off screen as well.

    Thanks for linking up with us, Rara 🙂

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  8. Hero – someone who stands up against all odds, someone who does something not because it is easy, not because they are good at it, not for the publicity or the money or all the scooby snacks in the world, but because it is the right thing to do, someone who continues to get up and fight the good fight even when they fail time and time again.

    I was going to type up something about Steve Irwin here, but I think I can do more with it in a post. Consider me inspired.

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  9. To say he was an extraordinary man would be an extraordinary understatement. He was paralysed from the neck down and didn’t let it get the better of him. I was saddened and upset when he died, and when I said to my kids (6 & 8 at the time) that superman was dead, they thought I meant Lois & Clark was no longer going to be on.

    He was a true inspiration in saying that “disability” does not mean “no ability”

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  10. Rara, how could you bring this up? I was having a lovely morning until I read this and my face sank. The day he died I was a hot mess. It was devastating. Now I will go and gather myself again, find some composure.

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    1. Gah, I know. Sorry, my dear. The “Big News” prompt from RTT made me want to write about it– but I couldn’t figure out how. It hurt then, and now to think on it. The Daily Post’s weekly writing challenge at least gave me a format. *hugs*

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    1. Haha! I had to look it up. When I say it in offline life, it sounds like, “matter in a wet hen”– which implies something entirely different, I suppose. 😀

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  11. Awwww… shed a little tear. Christopher is still my favorite Supes. Henry Caville has potential, but I found the Man of Steel script to be a little meh. They still haven’t outdone Superman 1 & 2 IMO. That Reeves smile though, makes me swoon nearly every time. Your post was a little sad, but in a good nostalgic kind of way. Posting the Muppets definitely helped. Good to remember Supes back in the day. 🙂

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  12. When I heard about Chris Reeve’s accident, I was so sad. It’s saddening just thinking about it. When I heard that he died, I felt that the world was actually less because of it. So, thanks for writing about this, Rara. You put the perfect words to my feelings at the very least. Love you.

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  13. We JUST watched Superman with X and Y a couple of weeks ago. It had been a while since I had seen it and it felt like a good friend was here for a visit. I loved sharing this with the kiddos, but found myself missing Christopher Reeves, too. Thanks for this. ❤

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  14. Reblogged this on the tao of jaklumen and commented:
    I have referenced a number of portrayals of Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent and Kal-El/Superman. His performance was powerful, but his example after his injury was equally powerful. I think it fitting that not long after, his beloved Dana joined him in death… a testament to their love and fortitude.

    This is the Hero’s Journey… thank you, Rara.

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  15. I remember that day too…it was so sad as he had battled for so long and it seemed that there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. I remember the accident too and all our disbelief “…but he’s Superman…”

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  16. His accident, then his passing were both shocking.
    But he handled his instant stardom, and later, his life after his accident, were the epitome of style, cool and dignity.

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