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Death of Superman

By , Greenwood Lake, NY
Words, that was all they asked of me. The look on their faces was enough to make me cringe. Why did they have to ask me for words? It was the only thing I couldn’t give right now. I know it sounds greedy, do deny such a measly thing to such desperate people, but they were all I had left of him, and I wasn’t about to let them go. I guess you deserve an explanation, and I’ll get into that, but first I have a question: What would you do if you witnessed the death of Superman?

Gerald Thompson. That name most likely means nothing to you, but to me, it is something to live by. It’s a guiding factor, a shining light in this confusing, dark world. I would be happy to be half the man he was, to be a quarter as generous. Gerald Thompson was my grandfather. Gerald Thompson was my superman. He was a hero of the superhuman disposition. A being of divine endurance, fixed firmly in the road of righteousness. The epitome of stability, an unshakable force of steadfast honor. The perfect role model, my knight in shining armor. But he was only human. When my grandmother got sick, he turned to alcohol. After she died, it became his dependence. Alcohol and cigarettes became his body and blood, his kryptonite. Slowly, his hero stature diminished, his armor cracked. He found himself in the hospital two years later. On the second anniversary of his wife’s death, he had severe chest pains and trouble breathing. A superhero was lost that day, but to me he still held his divinity.

The hospital was horrible. A sterile, cold, and empty environment inhabited by death and broken dreams. I was only able to visit him once, the day before he died, and something happened that day. Something I’ll never forget. That day a look was exchanged between us, mine of shattered knowledge, and his of shame. I truly believe it was that moment he decided to die, that moment he knew he could not go on. He and I both knew it, and something changed in both of us. For that look, what I saw in his eyes was something that will stay with me until the day I die. What I saw in his eyes was a beauty of the horrific kind, something I wanted dearly to look away from, but could not. In his eyes I saw and unbreakable object, shatter. I watched the struggle die. I saw myself, I saw despair. After some thought I realized why he would give up. Why he would pull the plug. I realized that to see someone who thought you were divine, watch you slowly die; it’s a pain worse than death. Sitting there with tubes to eat, tubes to breath, and tubes for God knows what; and then seeing those shattered eyes, my shattered eyes. I dare not even imagine that pain. I dare not even imagine how it feels to finally strip the world bare and see the truth. Death would be welcome after that.
But he died with knowledge: Not everything was lost. When I witnessed him in that state, pain was not the only thing transmitted; there was also a promise. A dying wish you might call it. He asked of me one simple thing: Be better than this. Through his pain, despair, and those shattered eyes he begged me not to fall into the lies of drugs. He etched it into my soul. Be honest, live for yourself, and don’t let death bother you, it’s going to happen, accept it and move on. And that’s a promise I live by. I’ve been offered drinks and drugs more times than I can count, but I stay diligent. I’ve witnessed more death, but I accept the cold hard facts and am thankful for the memories. And I live for myself, I live to be what I can and I let nothing stand in my way. I live like my grandfather, like my hero, like my superman.





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writingfreak said...
Sept. 14, 2009 at 6:11 pm
Oh...my...gosh...That was amazing. U are an amazing writer. Keep it up!!!
 
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