Thursday, October 09, 2008

Somewhere In Heaven by Christopher Anderson

It wasn't until I closed the book after finishing the last page that I realized how remarkable the story really was. After all, author Chritopher Anderson's subtitle to Somewhere In Heaven stated "The remarkable love story of Dana and Christopher Reeve". And remarkable it was. After meeting and initially falling in love, the two were inseparable. They traveled, sailed, flew, skated on ice, you name it. They lived to the fullest extreme. Christopher, more so than Dana. He was the one doing his own movie stunts and hand gliding and riding horses in competitions. By all measures, he was Superman personified.

Until that fateful day when his horse became spooked, stopped short of a jump, and Superman ceased living life as he knew it. Yet, later, much later, while petitioning Congress for money and rights for the disabled, he would state he missed his simple life, the quiet life that didn't generate so much attention. He never slowed down, never ceased living life even pinned to a wheelchair, unable to breath without help. He still taught his son to ride a bike, still produced movies, still acted as husband and father and friend to those lucky enough to be around him.

It was in part due to Dana, his wife. A large part if you asked the world. It was her strength that helped Will, their son, manage the crisis without falling apart. And later, able to manage Dana's death with class. She was the one that told Christopher that he was "still you" when he was tempted to let them pull the plug following the accident.

But there were those that played small, inspiring roles. Like Robin Williams, who days following the accident, showed up in Reeve's hospital room in scrubs with a heavy accent, playing the role of Proctologist. This would win him the first laugh from Reeve since the accident. Willaims would play jester to Reeve many times in the following years.

The determination to not allow life's stumbling blocks to make them quit is why the Reeve's are so remarkable. Their focus no matter what stage of life was incredible. Whether acting in a movie or learning to walk again, they tackled each segment of life with an endurance that was rewarded with a love few find. Their story is one that will inspire you to live your life today the best you can. It takes the excuses away and minimizes the need to whine or complain. After all, if Superman can live life to the fullest whether flying in a hand glider or strapped to a wheelchair, why can't we?

256 pages
Hyperion Publishers
Released July 8, 2008