Recently, I came across a picture of myself as a little girl. In this picture, I was being awarded for something. I do not remember what exactly it was. I do remember that the most comforting thought I had that day was, ‘that little girl would be so proud of me today almost as much as I am of her.’

Even more recently in a conversation with my cousin, I mentioned that 2020 has been the best year of my life. I truly believe the truth of that statement and, I am so proud of myself for many small victories that I have had. Mostly – for picking myself up after falling countless times.

I woke up from a nap on Friday to news on the passing of Chadwick Boseman from my brother. I wished I could just go back to napping. For a minute, I thought it was unfair for me to call 2020 the best year of my life. There is still so much suffering and loss in the world and it doesn’t seem like it’s about to stop.

My most comforting thought that day also doubles as my most challenging thought in a long time.

Your deaths will be meaningless if you give up.

Thinking about this quote has given me great comfort as I process the news of Chadwick’s death. It has been comforting because I understand now that he did not give up. Chadwick continued to show up. I now realize that I am only able to mourn him because his life, his work was indeed meaningful, inspirational and even in death his work will remain impactful for years to come.

I did not understand the importance of representation until Black Panther. Allow me to speak for all of us. We felt truly seen and represented. I will never forget how I felt watching Black Panther for the first time. I will never forget swelling up with pride, nodding in agreement and smiling both inwardly and outwardly. Finally, we had something that was truly ours and would be ours forever.

I am comforted now because Chadwick’s legacy as King T’challa is something that I will have forever. Something that I can continue to take pride in and share. Chadwick has showed us – he did not just play a super hero on the big screen, he was a super hero in real life. One who fought till the very end and fought well. One who has given us so much without ever meeting us. One who achieved his purpose in life and truly left us with something meaningful.

I am both comforted and challenged. Especially challenged to look inward and think about my own passing from this world. Challenged to make something meaningful of my life. My former school’s motto is “Never Give Up”, today more than ever those three words have sat on my heart. I truly hope that when my time comes I will be gone but not forgotten. Just like Chadwick.

Thank you Chadwick for living such a beautiful life. I will learn from your example and live my life hoping that it will be a life of beautiful impact. I hope that when my time comes to leave this earth, there will be someone out there in this vast universe who will feel about me the way that I feel about Chadwick’s passing.

When you finally get to put up your Christmas tree in December, I hope that just like me you will be able to say that 2020 has been the best year of your life – simply because you didn’t give up and you’re still alive.

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