How Spider-Man Helped Me By means of Loss and Grief in 2018


“We’ve got to be better than what we undergo.”

Rising up, I by no means absolutely linked to Spider-Man. As a child, his fantastical adventures felt linked to extravagant, grownup issues that I couldn’t fairly relate to. However when he lastly swung his means onto the PS4 final September after which once more into theaters with Into The SpiderVerse, he clicked. It was like a blossoming explosion in my thoughts – I had lastly understood the enchantment of the character who I had recognized my entire life. It took the fruits of years of grownup expertise and even worse, a demise within the household, for me to essentially see Spider-Man for what he really is: a totem of the human expertise, and a supportive information for our journeys via hardship.

When Insomniac’s Spider-Man got here out, my father was every week away from coming into the hospital for what would finally grow to be palliative care. At first, I felt responsible that I used to be having fun with my time enjoying a online game to flee the sounds and smells of an ICU, however in his final days, my father defined one thing to me: as a baby, he would purchase me video games like Spider-Man as a result of he beloved watching my creativeness develop. If I took pleasure in a sport, comedian, guide, or film, that was sufficient for him to know my thoughts was blossoming and increasing. Whereas he would relaxation on the hospital, I dove into Spider-Man PS4 and was absorbed again into the world of Peter Parker and Miles Morales. I took respite swinging via the New York Metropolis skyline, webbing crooks, amassing backpacks, and being a pleasant neighborhood hero. I fell arduous for Spider-Man. 

Whereas he would relaxation on the hospital, I dove into Spider-Man PS4 and was absorbed again into the world of Peter Parker and Miles Morales.

Yuri’s Lowenthal’s efficiency as  Peter Parker resonated with me, greater than any model of the character I’d seen earlier than. He was older, with payments, relationship woes, and his personal trials of deep household love and baggage. He was coping with all the traditional “life stuff” that I used to be – certain, he’s a superhero, however his humanity made him so relatable. I needed to be there with him on each step of his journey.

Finally, my father started his journey to his ultimate days and I stepped away from Peter’s story to spend all of my time with him. I informed him I beloved him, I listened to his life tales and recommendation he shared with me and my household, cried with him as he informed me he was happy with me, and that he beloved me, sat with him and held him as he handed away.


Gary Lee Hunt

As you may think, life was little greater than a blur for some time. I struggled, as anybody does, via mourning and grief – however quickly, I returned to Spider-Man. Usually occasions we use video video games as a type of escapism, a strategy to keep away from the harsher realities of life (even when for only a whereas). However for me, Spider-Man pulled me again to “actuality”. In the direction of “normalcy.” Every activity I accomplished, each reminiscence I might uncover, would sharpen my senses, burning away a few of that haze that had consumed my latest days.  Peter’s triumphs, my “progress”, turned touchstones that helped propel me ahead nearly therapeutically.

Lastly rolled credit on #SpiderManPS4 tonight and I’ve to say, it affected me extra deeply and emotionally than I assumed it might for just a few causes. Most prominently, it paralleled the journey I’ve had with being with my father in his final month of life. This is a thread:

— Calamity Brandon (@mediavandal) October 21, 2018

Quick-forward to December of final yr: a ultimate DLC drop, and the discharge of Into the Spider-Verse. One chapter ended whereas one other started and, naturally, this shift in mediums resonated with me greater than most. Spider-Verse’s tackle the world of Peter Parker absolutely sparked my drive and fervour in a means motion pictures not often do. From Chris Pine’s grizzled Spider-Man to Noire and his Rubix Dice, we noticed totally different voices and separate tales all woven collectively by Spidey’s net. When the demise of 1 Spider-Man occurred, tons of of voices shouted out “I’m Spider-Man” and donned the masks, coming collectively to avoid wasting the day and one another. Seeing all of those characters collectively because the embodiment of ‘Spider-Man, pushed by their braveness and willpower, jogged my memory that I’d overcome comparable struggles myself.

I’ve but to discover a character in widespread fiction that manages to be so adaptable, versatile, sturdy, and pure whereas being so relatable to so many. One who not solely reveals his full self to the world however who permits others with the power they should higher themselves and even simply get via the day. I’m embarrassed to confess how lengthy it took me to grasp the significance of that form of power, however I’m additionally grateful that it was a personality that I’ve recognized my complete life who was in a position to prop me up and produce me again, throughout my worst occasions. I can be there to hear, play, learn, watch, and in any other case gluttonously devour his tales.

Our Pleasant, Neighborhood Spider-Man is actually right here for us all and for that, I’m eternally indebted.

Brandon Hunt is a Branded Social Producer for IGN’s Social Crew. You possibly can observe him on Twitter @mediavandal the place he talks concerning the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles far more than another human may presumably do.

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