Dana Reeve and Christopher Reeve’s 13-year-old son, Will, will stay with friends in the town of Bedford, N.Y.
Sources say that Dana, who passed away last night, made the arrangements with a local family because Will was already close to their son, and the parents agreed so that the boy, who’s already had a roller-coaster life, would have continuity with his existing friends.
It’s not that Dana or Chris didn’t have family. Each had a sibling who was ready to take Will, I am sure, but this was the agreement. And it was completely like Dana to want Will to be as comfortable and secure as possible. That was the kind of woman she was.
Her death at 44 is truly a tragedy. Imagine that Dana was in her early 30s when Chris Reeve had the accident that left him paralyzed for nine years.
She immediately turned into a Florence Nightingale, caring for Chris and supporting him so thoroughly that all of his dreams and plans for other paraplegics came true. They started a successful foundation to raise money for research, and befriended as many other paraplegics as they could.
I have two memories of Chris and Dana that stick in my mind. One was at an event at Radio City Music Hall. I came down into the lower level to get a bottle of water, and found Dana pushing a tuxedo-clad Chris in his wheelchair to an exit. I thought they had left the event much earlier. But there they were, chatting happily as if everything in their lives was perfect.
Dana was never less than cheerful despite the fact that the man she loved was in a wheelchair and dependent on machines to keep him alive.
The other memory is similar: at a concert for Al Gore in Los Angeles, where Chris and Dana turned up with their small entourage of helpers. They were 3,000 miles from home.
Again, it was Chris’ dream to keep living like there was nothing wrong with him. Dana was unflagging in making sure that wish would always be achieved. She was a brave, beautiful woman who I think, in a way, gave her life for her husband’s peace of mind after his own tragedy. It’s an extraordinary story, sad and stunning.