Some of you may remember Christopher Reeve as the original Superman back in the 1970s and 1980s – others of you won’t. He was the first Superman I knew and as a young child I completely believed that Christopher Reeve was indeed this man with superhuman strength. He saved the world again and again and was a beacon of hope!
On May 27th 1995, Christopher Reeve was horse-riding when his horse refused to jump a fence. It suddenly stopped and he fell forward off his horse whilst still holding onto the reins. His hands somehow became tangled in the reins, and he landed head first on the far side of the fence, shattering his first and second vertebrae. He was paralysed from the neck down and his breathing was halted. In a split second he went from being an action film superhero to being unable to move freely or breathe for himself.
As he came out of unconsciousness, he didn’t want to live a life where he couldn’t do all the things that he had been able to and he told his wife Dana that she would be better off without him. She asked him to put that thought on the back-burner for two years and he agreed. She believed that they could get through this and he said that her positivity gave him hope. He lived a lot longer than those two years!
One of Christopher Reeve’s most famous quotes is this:
A quote born out of his wife’s positivity. She wouldn’t let him be defined by his disability and this enabled him to remain hopeful and believe that anything was possible until his last breath. They created a foundation dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by advancing innovative research. Their hope lives on (although sadly they have both now passed away) and their foundation improves the quality of life for individuals and families impacted by paralysis.
This may appear to be a very odd thing to write about, but Christopher and Dana Reeve are, for me, the embodiment of what hope is. Even when faced with the worst of circumstances, Dana believed that anything was possible and this allowed her husband to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
When I have gone through challenging times, as we all do in life. I have reminded myself of this story and been able to see the light myself.
Currently, hope is so important. We are living in unprecedented times (as we keep being reminded) and we don’t know what will happen today, let alone tomorrow. But we do have hope! I keep hold of this each day and I harness the positivity of Dana and Christopher Reeve. I am no good as a mother, wife, teacher, daughter or friend if I am living in the hopeless.
I believe that hope is a gift that we can give to each other and so this is my gift to you today – remember, this too shall pass and HOPE actually stands for –