Will Reeve, son of Christopher and Dana Reeve, reflects on a letter he wrote to his thirteen-year-old self after losing both of his parents.
“But you know that in the years ahead, you will face no obstacle greater than the one you are starting to overcome right now, and no matter which way your journey leads, mom and dad will be there with you every step of the way.”
Will began writing the letter to the boy who was sitting in his mother’s hospital room after saying his final goodbyes to her. He starts the letter by writing, “I've got good news and bad news. I'll start with the bad, because you always need to know exactly what's going on, no matter what.” Will continues writing saying the bad news is that he is at the lowest point in his life having just said goodbye to his mother.
“You're 13. She's 44. Lung cancer. Never smoked. Gone, just like Dad, who died a year-and-a-half ago, which at the time was the lowest you had been. Now you're at a new bottom and you're terrified and confused and just so sad,” Will writes.
He follows the bad news with something positive. “But! Here's the good news: this is the low point. There's nowhere to go but up, and that's exactly where you're headed,” he says.
Will reminisces on memories with his parents. Memories of his dad teaching him how to ride a bike in his driveway and how his mom’s singing voice ‘filled the air with sweetness.’
Will writes about how he felt lucky that his mom decided to sign over parenting rights to the Pucci’s, the next door neighbors. He states they loved him fiercely and were always his second family and now his adoptive family.
Will assures himself, “There will be times when you will feel lost. You will feel insecure, less about the braces and bad haircut you have now and more about the choices you make, the direction of your career, missteps in relationships and social settings, but don't worry.
He continues by telling himself everything he will accomplish throughout the years. His love for sports and musicals, and getting hired on at ESPN as a sports writer.
“To millions of people, (your parents) embody love and loyalty, commitment and courage, perseverance and hope. You'll make them proud by honoring your family name, not by using it for special treatment but by living a life worthy of its legacy.”
Will writes that life is a balancing act. Some days he will feel like he is doing a great job. For example, when he joins the board of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. He continues to say there will be days where he feels shame when he lets his emotions get the best of him.
Will concludes his letter by writing, “I want you to know that we do not have all of this figured out. But you know that in the years ahead, you will face no obstacle greater than the one you are starting to overcome right now, and no matter which way your journey leads, mom and dad will be there with you every step of the way. How lucky are you?”
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