Dana Reeve, aspiring actress and talented vocalist, wife of the late actor and paraplegic Christopher Reeve (of “Superman” fame), and tireless advocate for the foundation which bears his name, died today of lung cancer. She was 44.
I was never much of a Superman fan, and I only really shared the common respect for Chris Reeve’s gallant determination following his tragic accident, but hearing of Dana Reeve’s death this morning has deeply moved me. In that grand irony that affects all of humanity, it seems we never truly appreciate the people who impact our lives until they are gone.
Dana Reeve was just such a individual. A lesser person would have been wrecked by the struggle, first to aid her husband in his nine-year battle to recover from paralysis, and then less than a year after his death to face her own personal health crisis. She had never smoked a day in her life, but was diagnosed with life-threatening lung cancer. Still she battled on, furthering her husband’s cause as her own health rapidly deteriorated. Just as she had been a bullwark for her husband, she remained passionately–and bravely–devoted to Christopher Reeve’s memory and to their family.
I do not know of the Reeves’ personal faiths, nor of the inner-strength which steadied and supported them through their lives, but it is inescapable to me that, perhaps in some final mercy, the two people who loved and adored each other above all else should be reunited.
Rest in Peace.