Christopher Reeve's Grown Up Son Hopes His Parents Are Proud
Reeve talks about learning to move through life without his parents.
The 26-year-old son of the late Christopher Reeve has written a searingly honest letter to his younger self about the "lowest point" in his life.
"I've got good news and bad news," said Will Reeve, in a letter for CBS's series Note to Self: Inspiring Words From Inspiring People.
"I'll start with the bad, because you always need to know exactly what's going on, no matter what. That won't change, by the way. The bad news is: You're at the lowest point of your life. You're in a hospital room in New York City, and you've just said your final goodbye to Mom."
The now Sportscentre broadcaster and ESPN contributor lost both of his parents at a young age: first his dad, the original Superman, in 2004, and then his mum, the actress and singer Dana Reeve, less than two years later.
"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."
He told his younger self that, in all the years to come, there is "no obstacle greater" than learning to move through life without his parents.
He was brought up by his next-door neighbours, or his "second family", as he calls them, reflecting on how lucky he was that one of his mum's final tasks was to sign his care over to them.
"You'll move in with them and love them as fiercely and fully as they love you," he wrote.
"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 said that he moves through life hoping to make his parents proud, and that sometimes, he feels like he's doing a great job.
"Other times, like when your work-play balance gets a little too skewed toward fun, or you're lazy or rude or selfish, you'll feel nothing but shame."
He told his younger self that, at the age of 26, he still doesn't have it all figured out, but that the answer he's found most helpful so far is to just be himself.
"It sounds simple and clichéd, but just be you. Because you are what will make mom and dad most proud. Every moment you spent with them, they were preparing you for a life without them. You have their values and Mom's eyes and Dad's smile."
You can read his full letter to his younger self here.