He wrote a letter to himself at the age of 13 when his mother passed away, just two years after his father had. The words of the wise teenager will make you tear up.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on January 10, 2020. It has since been updated.
Sometimes, the difficulties that life throws at us might seem too insurmountable to overcome at the time, but those who keep striving against them strike gold at some point. When it happens to us as at a very young age, it might feel like the end of the world. However, how we overcome it makes or breaks us for the rest of our life.
Christopher Reeve's youngest son, Will, was only 13 years old when he became an orphan. He first lost his father and two years later, his mother. He could have easily gone off the deep end and nobody would have blamed him for it. However, the 27-year-old has turned out to be a stable and successful young man. He learned the hard lessons early in life and became mature because of them.
Tragedy struck when, in 1995, his famous father, Reeve, had fallen off a horse and the accident severed two of his vertebrae. This was only the beginning of the hardships that the family went through and he personally had to go through a lot more. Nine years later, in 2004, he lost the Superman of his life as he had a heart attack resulting from septic shock, according to EpochTimes.
Until then, he claims to have had a "totally normal childhood." He spoke to People magazine in 2016 about how formative his parents' influence had been in his life. "They were the people who told me to turn off the TV," he said, adding, "to eat my broccoli, to go to bed." He also acknowledged that there were things he went through as a child of famous parents that others won't have gone through.
"Not every child experiences going to the grocery store and seeing their dad on the magazine at the checkout aisle," Will shared. Neither the Superman actor's fame nor disability affected him adversely. His father even taught him how to ride a bike.
"The fact that he was paralyzed did present its own set of challenges because we couldn’t be spontaneous," says Will. "That could be difficult, but my parents did such a good job of staying true to their values that I never felt deprived of a normal childhood, even though my experiences, at face value, were inherently different from other children my age."
Just as he was coming to terms with Reeve's death, Will lost his mother, Dana, 44, to lung cancer within two years of losing his dad. He wrote a letter to himself then, which he shared with CBS.
"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. 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," he wrote.
"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. 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 added.
However, he was lucky that his brave and thoughtful mother had prepared for him to be taken care of well ahead in time. She took care of all arrangements for him, so he could grow up in a happy home, in familiar surroundings, instead of being uprooted. So the ESPN SportsCenter anchor grew up with childhood friends in Bedford, New York State.
Dana's father, 72-year-old Dr. Charles Morisini who lived in New Hampshire, told Daily Mirror in 2006, "Will will be very well looked after. Dana picked friends to look after him, everybody was very happy with that."
And that is what happened. He grew up in a happy home while also getting to spend more time with his half-siblings, children of Reeve from his previous relationship, and went to college. He dabbled in acting and became a sports commentator, doing what he loves best. He also works to raise money and awareness for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, which researches cures for spinal cord injuries.