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  • Writer's pictureLydia Lampert

Louis Zamperini, You Are My Hero: We Should All Remain Unbroken

Last night, my husband and I actually had a date. For the first time in a very long time, I felt good enough to go out, so our boys were at sleepovers and I told him we should go get dinner and maybe check out a movie. His eyes lit up like the Christmas tree we, only hours before, had taken down.  “Of course, whatever you want to do! I am just happy to be able to see a glimpse of my wife come through.” So, I got dressed, fixed my hair and even put on some makeup. I went so far as to take a selfie and send it to my best friends with the caption, “Feeling human.” I never want to make more of a good day, than just that. It’s one good day, but yesterday, I decided to just go with it. No questions of tomorrow. No speculation that it was because my medication had been increased. Just acceptance that today I feel ok.

We went to dinner, and although I was trying to act “normal,” my anxiety was beginning to get  the best of me, as my knees bounced under the table, and I figeted with my fingers as we tried to enjoy uninterupted conversation. I don’t think my husband has any idea how much I miss him. I miss him terribly. Yesterday, I sat in my recliner, reading, and stopped to watch him as he slept on the couch, silently. I can’t imagine the pressure he feels to sustain this household and family in my many moments of absence or how much the feelings of loneliness wear on his heart, as I know how very much he misses me too. I made a point to hold his hand, to kiss him and tell him how much I loved him. I have realized that in a good moment, you have to act, and since I had the energy to express myself, I did.

We saw the movie, Unbroken. To say it was amazing does not do the movie justice. Louis Zamperini’s true life story adapted for the big screen was life changing. It was an incredible story of hope and courage and strength. His struggles are immense compared to mine and he survived. I did not cry during the movie despite the dramatic scenes and violence, but as my husband and I left the movie theater, he told me I really picked a tough film, a depressing film. As I fought back the tears and gasped for my breath because I was so overwhelmed with emotions and inspiration, I said, “John, that movie gave me hope, more hope than I have had for a long time, and it should give you hope too. That poor man, not only survived a plane crash, being lost at sea for 47 days, but also being detained in a Japanese prisoner of war camp for months, possibly years, enduring abuses, terrorization, torture and unthinkable other tragedies. And he survived. We can certainly survive this if he could survive all of that.”

There was a line in the movie that one of his fellow prisoner’s said to him which went, “We beat them by making it to the end of the war alive. That’s our revenge.”   How many of us can apply this to our lives, to our illnesses? We can’t allow the illness to beat us. In the end, no matter how difficult the fight, we win, if we wake up alive to fight another day, if we don’t allow this monster of a disease kill us. We are all survivors. We are all strong, even when we don’t feel strong. We are here. We are fighting and I will never give up. After seeing Louis Zamperini’s struggles, although my struggles seem insurmountable at times, I know they are small compared to what that man endured. What a remarkable movie. What a remarkable man. What a remarkable life. Thank you, Mr. Zamperini for sharing your story. Thank you Angelina Jolie for recreating this hero’s journey for all of us to enjoy. I will never forget how that movie changed my perception of struggle and made me appreciate my life.

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