Saturday, March 11, 2006

Christopher and Dana Reeve's True Love and Devotion

I don't think you'll ever find a more compelling love story than that of Christopher and Dana Reeve. Three years into their marriage, Christopher became a paraplegic when he fell from a horse. They had recently had their only son, Will.

Sadly, Dana, who just died on March 8th from lung cancer (she was not a smoker), said about Christopher when asked how she kept her spirits up, "I was married to a man who never gave up." And about her devotion to Christopher, she claimed she was no saint, "but a woman simply in love."

A few months ago, I was in a convenience store and struck up a conversation with a man in his 60s. After a minute of chit-chat, he confided in me about his situation. His wife of over 40 years was stricken ill and bed-ridden in the past year. He had a caregiver stay with her during the day as he worked (he was obviously not a wealthy man) and came home at night to take care of her himself. He stayed up many nights to comfort his wife when she was in pain.

Some of his married buddies told him to "stick her in a home and get on with his life." He was so shocked that his friends felt that way. "She made a wonderful home and life for us for nearly 40 years. How could I abandon her? I love her."

How do you think you would react if your spouse was stricken with a long-term illness or injury that he or she would not recover from?

Care Packages: Letters to Christopher Reeve from Strangers and Other Friends was compiled by Dana, who selected from the postal tidal wave following his accident. She presents her choices in chapters such as "Overcoming Adversity" and "Cures and Recommendations," along with recollections from correspondents who knew or had met the actor. Dana wrote an introductory note for each chapter and a handwritten final word to her husband.

Nothing is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life is a meditative companion to Christopher Reeve's earlier biography, Still Me. Each chapter is devoted to some aspect of successful living (humor, faith, hope) or addresses a major life issue (parenting, religion, recovery). It also serves as an inspirational primer for those who may be challenged by mental rather than physical wounds.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for that post...I have been a huge Superman fan since my Dad passed away from Cancer and I posted on her death as well but yours has much more details. Well Done.