It’s Hanging On.

He’s been a longtime favorite of mine. I was attracted to his quiet intensity, I think. When I saw the previews for Black Panther, it was always this thought for me. Wow. He’s kingly. He’s regal. I want to see him in this movie.

My friends laughed when I asserted in conversations that the depth-y aspects of the film, whether Killmonger was truly a villain, didn’t matter to me. Even the non-depth-y parts (“can we talk about how fine Michael B. Jordan is?”) were inconsequential. I was thoroughly in love with King T’Challa. After stalking interview after interview following the movie’s release, it was clear that Chadwick Boseman had stolen my heart.

Intelligent. Beautiful. That smile. Special in a way I couldn’t isolate.

And that’s why this one seems so hard to digest. Death is already a sting; being a deep believer in my Creator and appreciating the wonders of the human body forbid me from believing that death is a “natural part of life”; if it were natural, grief would be nonexistent. But thinking about how special he seemed, that indescribable aspect of his nature, gentle in a way but still strong—it’s a blow.

And certainly, the cancer is part of the blow. Having lost my dear Dad to cancer, I am tied to that disease in a way that is thoroughly unbearable. Learning that Chadwick had lived with cancer for four years while working…recently, I read that he had hope he would beat it. He was ready to beat it. My Daddy wanted so much to beat it. He nursed so much hope, even as radiation stripped him of strength, of energy, of life. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office one afternoon, infuriated with my father’s physician. Infuriated with him telling my father how well he was doing. Couldn’t he see how my Daddy was suffering? Couldn’t he?

So, yes, I see how it’s all wrapped up together. Mourning a man I didn’t know personally with remembering the grief of losing a man I loved with every fiber of my being. I see why it’s hanging on: this inability to stop thinking about Chadwick, to not shed tears when I read tributes about him, to let this go. I can’t seem to shake it right now.

My hope for the future is intact. I know, through Biblical promises, that I will see my dear father again. I also believe that for many we have lost. Even people we didn’t know personally.

But the loss of it all. It hangs on. It really, really does.


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