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In Memoriam: Jim Henson: A Child's Hero This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I'll never forget the day, it was sunny; warm, and I felt pretty good when I awoke. I went downstairs to eat breakfast, and my mother told me that Jim Henson had died. Ouch. That was my reaction, as if I felt an arrow pierce me and pain surge through me. I felt as though a part of me was missing, and I could never get it back. Jim Henson was that piece - the "other half" I've carried since childhood.

When I was little, I didn't know him as "Jim Henson." In fact, I didn't know him at all. All I knew was that his creations - the Muppets - had brought me so much joy that I would spend the rest of my life thanking him. His was a world of loving characters; as a child, I was born into this world, and I've been living in it ever since. He had a way of bringing life and true character into the Muppets; they were so unique that each one was special, and yet I loved them all alike. He created my world, a world where I could dream and imagine and have fun. He encouraged imagination; his characters were based on creativity and happiness. It's funny, I never thought I could love something so simple as a Muppet. And then I realized that although it was his characters that I loved, he was the one breathing life into them. He was the one who brought us Kermit and Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, and all the others. He was the one who showed us that happiness doesn't have to be complicated, or expensive, or hard to find. He proved it with his characters.

I'm older now, but I still feel the same way. I still regard him as an idol to look up to, as a source of inspiration, who gave me the power to set my goals. And yet, he's the exact image of the Muppets - special, unique, and irreplaceable. When I heard he had died, I felt my world collapse, shattered beyond replacement. All of my dreams, all of my memories that had taken years to build came tumbling down in the course of seconds.

My "other half" is gone; and I feel empty; alone. But, despite all this, I think Jim has taught me something. I think it's time for me to move on my own, to set my own goals and achieve them. I'm no longer a follower, but a leader. My own leader. Maybe someday I'll be like Jim; or the character he created in his own image: Kermit, who only wants to "make people happy."

Until then, I'm left to rebuild the rubble, to start over again. I'll keep searching for my "other half," although I'll never find it. My idol is gone, but his memory will always be there. His characters, the Muppets, will still continue to make me happy, and his inspiration to "do just what we've set out to do" will always guide me. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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