On The Death Of Good Men Like Chadwick Boseman

Last weekend, I was saddened to learn of the death of Chadwick Boseman after a four-year battle from colon cancer. It has hit me harder than I expected and I am not sure why. He was only 43 years old, so it could be his age.

It also could be that he is another black man losing his life unexpectedly. And that has been happening way too much.  Also, it could be because he was a man of great character, empathy, kindness, and compassion.

Sadly, these are characteristics that are lacking these days. I for one wish there were more people who lived their lives as he did. It could also be that deaths are just painful, no matter how close the person was to us. Death hurts, whether it be slow with suffering or sudden and unexpected.

While battling his own cancer, Mr. Boseman went to visit sick kids at St. Jude’s Hospital. It is amazing to think that while he was filming movies, he was going through surgeries and chemotherapy. And, he was helping kids who were in a similar boat as him. Some had cancer, others had serious illnesses, and still others had diseases that were being treated.

This week, I told my son that this is the sort of man who you want to be like and learn from.  A man with integrity and dignity. A man who didn’t just play a hero but was a hero to many sick children.  A man who truly knew the meaning of empathy and helping others. A man who can still teach us how to treat one another.

We want to thank Marvel, Disney and ABC for airing “Black Panther” commercial-free on Sunday night. This movie is so good, well-written, and deserved the awards that it received. It is beautiful, shows true community, the importance of a tribe, and how leaders must have morals and values that help them govern or rule in this case.

We watched it over two nights since Sunday was a school night. I enjoyed seeing all of the lovely clothes, scenery, skin tones, and regal-ness that the film had. It seemed to be based on actual tribes and histories of them and their people.  It was just lovely and I enjoyed every minute. So did my son.

After the movie, we watched the Marvel special and then the ABC special celebrating the life of Chadwick Boseman. It was touching to see how much he and that film impacted so many people, including children. He was a hero to so many people — his colleagues, his friends, and children who looked up to him.

My son and I discussed the fact that this was the first movie that black girls and boys got to see people who looked like them in the lead roles. It wasn’t about that but instead about this man’s quest to become king of his homeland. It truly broke barriers and that is a great thing. “Wakanda Forever.”

There is a line at the end of the movie that really touched me and made me teary-eyed as we watched it several times.  It was said by the Black Panther aka King T’Challa and is something that is true in real life as well. “But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.”

We so need to do this in real life. I am tired of so much division today in our country and around the world. I am tired of those in leadership positions who don’t help with that, and often make things worse.

Enough!  It is time for us to come together rather that tearing each other down. We truly need to do this for ourselves, each other, and for our children.

True heroes don’t announce how great they are. True heroes quietly go about their heroic work and assist others as needed. True heroes go in and rescue others who need their help. I think that Mr. Boseman was one of these heroes. I only wish that he had lived longer to teach us more.

Not only did he help to change movies, his death ended up being the most tweeted item ever. Isn’t that amazing? I want to see a few of his other movies in which he portrayed Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall.  I want my son to watch them with me and we can discuss them, depending on the rating of course.

In closing, I hope that we can do as Chadwick Boseman demonstrated and as his character reminded us. Let’s build bridges instead of barriers. Let’s look after one another. Let’s practice kindness and empathy. Let’s give of ourselves to those in need. Let’s think of others and not just our own needs and wants.  And, let’s always, always love.

(Blogger’s Note: all images are from Power Point’s clip art gallery.)