Recently, I watched an episode of Glee (yes, I’m a big fan) where the song Heroes (David Bowie) was sung. The whole episode was loosely based on the idea that some of the characters had started a club of super heroes. It turns out they were not super, but heroes never the less. While listening to the song, preformed by Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss) and Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet) I began to think of the many heroes I know and I realized, I can identify many. I know of women who have lost children or husbands and yet kept their families together; others who battle cancer and keep a sense of wonder for this world. Parents who watched a child slowly recover from a horrendous accident. In my mind these people are all heroes. But, specifically, I want to talk about an incident that happened recently.
I have a friend with a critically ill husband. Doctors, even after 4 years, have not been able to determine why he can no longer walk, talk, and is continually dizzy. He has gone from an over six-foot man who loved his boat, his sports car, work, friends and his family, to being confined to a wheel chair and his recliner, unable to participate in life. My friend is her husband’s full time care giver. In my mind she is a hero to him and her children. Her life is difficult; she struggles to remain positive, to not lose patience, to not cry all day. In turn, my friend has her hero, her mother. My friend’s mother moved from her home to live with her daughter and provide support, help when she can and companionship.
As far as I can determine heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Their accomplishments can be big, as in saving someone from a burning building. These are the heroes we hear about and rightly so. But, most heroes perform small tasks. They provide hugs, a meal, an ear to listen, and a shoulder to cry on. They may run errands or cut the grass because they notice it needs to be done. I know how important these small gestures can be. I relied on my heroes many times as I struggled through my journey with my mother and her slide into dementia.
Last night I was given the opportunity to become a super hero. My friend’s beloved cat escaped from her house. Scotch is a cat with a big personality and he provides his hero work of fun, silliness and fur therapy in a house missing most of these qualities. My friend texted a note of panic about her cat’s disappearance. I called her and heard the alarm in her voice and immediately my inner super hero could be heard saying,
“I’m on my way. We’ll find him.”
I grabbed my daughter from her room and together we jumped into our super heroes’ car and sped out of the driveway. But, before we could even make it past the neighborhood entrance my friend called again.
“Scotch is home.” She said with a catch in her voice.
“Do you still need me to come down?”
“No, I’m fine,… well actually can you come and have a glass of wine with me?”
And so, I took my daughter home, left my super human powers of cat recovery there and drove to my friend’s house. We talked about Scotch and how bad he was that night for normally being such a good kitty. How he had scared us. She cried a little remembering how desperate she felt with the thought of losing the joy her cat brings her. My friend and I shared our wine; she took big gulps of air to calm herself, trying to regain the control she tenuously holds onto. I was glad I got to be, if not her superhero, her small hero for a while.