Last week at work our supervisors asked us to come prepared for our Friday huddle with our (S)HERO – a female who is our hero. It’d be a fun experience to help us recognize Women’s History Month, and today’s International Women’s Day.
The (S)HERO question lingered in my head throughout the week as I pondered who would be my (S)HERO. As I often need to do to get something out of my head, I created a list and started to word vomit on my Word document.
What did I come up with? Well here are my four (S)HEROES in four very different areas of my life.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …
I’ll start with my fictional (S)HERO, Princess Leia. We talk about how we need more female heroes in movies. Uh … Princess Leia did that 40-plus years ago. She stood up for herself and her people against the tyrannical Darth Vader. She questioned Luke Skywalker’s skills (and height), basically told him to stop being a baby after Obi-Wan was slayed, saved him when he was hanging from an upside town TV antenna on Bespin, never backed down to the charming, sarcastic smuggler Han Solo, and a short time after her home planet (aka family) was blown up, she was leading men in the Battle of Yavin. Not to mention she started a fashion trend with her hairstyles.
My more personal, but not-too-personal hero is Nora Ephron. Ephron ended up on my list because of her work writing my favorite screenplay of all-time, and the greatest romantic comedy ever (seriously, all others try to be) When Harry Met Sally… (a great read even if you’ve never seen the movie, and if you’ve never seen the movie .. shame on you!), along with a few other favorites, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail and the lesser known, but Johnson favorites, Mixed Nuts and My Blue Heaven.
As a wannabe-writer I read, bought, and studied the three-time Oscar nominee’s screenplays. Ephron started as a journalist, and ended up becoming one of the best screenwriters of my generation. She died in 2012 after a battle with leukemia. Which leads me to my next (S)HERO …
The first name that popped up on my list was the obvious – my wife. I celebrate her on International Women’s Day because … well, she’s International!
Despite my future mother-in-law telling her that she was completely insane for wanting to leave the comforts of their little sugar cane farming town out in rural Sao Paulo state, Brazil, my wife came to the United States to improve her English and be an au pair for a family. She hardly knew the language, knew no one, and was dropped into New York City for a week of training. That takes courage and guts (a number of au pairs don’t last), but she fought through it, met a wonderful dude, left him behind to go back to Brazil after her contract was up, and months later he was chasing her and marrying her in that small rural town in Sao Paulo state.
Her courage, strength, and life was challenged two years later when she was diagnosed with leukemia, and given about three-to-five months to live if she didn’t receive immediate treatment. She of course took that immediate treatment, and fought a eight month-long battle with cancer and chemotherapy. Just that last sentence is enough to call her a hero, but what was most impressive was the way she did it.
She never asked “Why me?” despite having a five-month old son. She never complained, despite having to spend an entire month confined to a hospital room (and bed). She never got upset, despite losing her hair, appetite and part of her memory. She just fought, had faith, and kept her sense of humor. When she went into remission her doctor presented her with a Certificate of Achievement noting that she was one of the toughest patients he had ever had. She was resilient, calm, tough, strong and she survived. This is why she’ll always be my personal hero.
Want to learn about our cancer-fighting journey? Click here. That’s all the original links to my first blog that I started when she was first diagnosed.
Not to be forgotten is my mom not only cause she’s my mom and I’m the daughter she never had, but because of how she was there for my wife throughout her entire battle with leukemia. Every day my mom would pick up my son and take him to visit his mom in the hospital. She’d hang out there and interact with the nurses, take care of my wife, keep her company, do everything any other mother-in-law wouldn’t do…or just be a hero.
If you’re looking for an all-time hero then who better to turn to than Harriet Tubman. We just watched the movie Harriet this past weekend. It wasn’t the best made movie, but the story can’t be beat. I don’t care who you are, Harriet Tubman should be on the top of your lists of heroes. Not (S)HERO but HERO! Runaway slave achieves freedom on her own then decides to do the crazy thing of going back to save her family. And when she saves her family she turns around to save more, and more and more. Nobody does that. She then joined the Union army and became a scout and spy. Her story is awe-inspiring, it’s courageous, it’s miraculous, it’s the definition of H-E-R-O!
There you have it. Four of my top (S)HEROES!
Who’s your (S)HERO? Share here!