As a child it is acceptable to believe in super heroes. There is nothing wrong with pretending that you have the ability to fly, or read minds. But at what age are you expected to “grow up?” When is it no longer okay to think that your favorite super hero will save the day? Regardless of how old I become, I will never stop believing in Superman.
In my world, Superman lived at 806 Sledge Avenue, he was married to the wonderfully beautiful Lois Lane, and he could do anything. He knew the answer to every question I could ever think to ask. He was amazingly fast, and super strong. I was the only one to know his secret identity. When he wasn’t too busy saving the world, he was disguised as my Pop-Pop.
My Nanny and Pop-Pop were the ultimate team. There was nothing they couldn’t do, as long as they were together. When my Nanny started showing the classic symptoms of the debilitating disease, Alzheimer’s, my Superman did everything he could to help her. Superman stayed up every night watching over his wife, and best friend. He fought long and hard, but not even his power could save her. When she passed away, he developed a new power, the power to hold together an unstable family. Although we were all grieving with her loss, he gave us the strength to carry on together.
After my Nanny died, the glow in the Pop-Pop’s eyes seemed to fade. My entire family understood that he had just lost the love of his life, but little did we know, he was fighting a bigger battle. There was no longer the child-like hop in his step. He no longer had the urge to work in the garage or cook a full sized meal. Up until that point, I thought he was unbreakable. I stayed up with him into the early hours, holding his hand and running my fingers through his thinning hair. I lost my Superman that night; his kryptonite, cancer.
My Pop-Pop never wore a cape. He couldn’t fly and he didn’t have superhuman strength. But he was still Superman and my hero. Isn’t that what everyone really needs? Aren’t we all looking for that one person to hold on to? We all want that one person who brings out the best in us. And when we find them, the entire world seems to fall into place. Even though my Pop-Pop is gone, he is always with me. Even in death, I still believe in my Superman.