I woke up this morning, hoping in my sleepy haze that this was all a dream.
Reality hit me like a falling brick. Chadwick Boseman, the actor who portrayed T'Challa in Black Panther, has died due to colon cancer.
There isn't much that can knock me off my feet during these pandemic times. I've battled the news of COVID-19, murder hornets, and even the death of Glee star Naya Rivera. I haven't written a post since last year, because at best, I have been coping with all of this. Not always in the best of ways either. If I wasn't working, I was sleeping, engrossed in Animal Crossing, or gorging myself with fast food
It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that I said to myself that this has got to stop. I started eating healthier, going on walks, and embracing what is now the new normal. I was dealing with the pandemic and coping beautifully.
Last night, when a family member sent me a message asking me if I knew Chadwick Boseman died, I felt all that work I did in embracing this new normal come crashing down. I searched for any sources that might prove this to be a wild hoax. I cried myself to sleep. And woke up to this horrible nightmare.
One of my first posts on this blog was about how Black Panther helped me with my Post Partum Depression. Seeing the movie gave me hope that maybe things weren't all bad. And that was a milestone that helped get me through my first year as a mom.
What's even more devastating to me is that Chadwick and I had more in common than I thought. We both dealt with chronic illnesses. While Multiple Sclerosis is not fatal, there is a lot of treatment, a lot of hospital stays, and a lot of sitting and waiting on test results.
I've very open about having MS, but I haven't always been. I've had the luxury of having control over who knows and who doesn't. And I don't have people who I've never met knowing about my health status.
Keeping your chronic illness secret can be a form of self care. Your energy goes towards your own treatement and test results without having the added stress of explaining your illness to healthy people. There's no faked sympathy, there's no prying or asking for what should be private information, and there's no need to comfort others with the posibility of your own death.
In a weird way, as much as the news of his death hurts me to my core, there is an old tired saying about how now he isn't suffering. If you've ever been sick before, imagine a life with out the beeping of hospital monitors, clumsy nurses who can't find your vein, and dealing with the narly side effects of yet another new perscription. There is peace in that he gets a break from all of this.
But that silver lining is as thin as a needle. I sit at my desk wrapped in my Black Panther fleece blanket hoping for some form of comfort. I'm hoping for a way that 2020 can suck less.
And hoping I did all I could to celebrate Black Panther while Chadwick was still with us.
Do you have any memories of Black Panther of Chadwick Boseman that you want to share? Drop a comment below and let's heal together.