Our favorite memories are often built of heroes. They remind us of all that we as human beings are capable of. They allow us to imagine a moment we ourselves might never know, but as witnesses share the experience. I have shared the experience. I have imagined how a hero feels, and so have felt heroic.

Heroes fade. They fade into a cloud of own expectations. They fade with age, with relevance, in controversy. We compare them to what they once were, or what they did. We do not share in their failures. We resent or forget them, for awhile anyway, until we remember them as they once were, or what they did.

Heroes return. They come back. They do it again, do it more, sometimes do it better. Or they return after they’ve faded, symbols now, inspiring us to conjure our favorite memories.

Heroes die. If old, this is not tragic, but it feels like tragedy because it makes us feel old, our favorite memories now ancient ones. We feel ancient. There’s a moment of silence. We grieve our younger selves.