Jason David Frank — the Green Ranger

As we get older, we start to uncover the inconvenient truth that our heroes are far more human than we ever thought possible. This on its own isn’t necessarily a bad thing — but when bad things befall our once fabled good guy or gal, and they are unable to overcome, it brings about an introspective sense of perplexity.

“If they can’t do it, what hope do I have…?”

When I was a kid, heroes were all that I had to inform me that the world wasn’t all bad. From the comic book pages of Superman, Batman and the Daredevil, to the episodic thrill of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, these uncompromising do gooders were the most influential force in giving a conflicted boy hope. Their storylines showed me that even in the mounting face of adversity, one could remain vigilant and true. Lessons I brought with me to my mum’s hospital room day over day…

I didn’t have a father, neither did Bruce Wayne; but he never let that stop him from becoming a chiseled beacon of good triumphing evil. Though my shoulders were never broad, my chin never square, and my presence almost unseen at times, it was belief in heroes that made the impossible seem tangible. That’s why when we lose one of them, it can hurt on a personal level.

Last night I observed news that Jason David Frank, better known as the Green and White Ranger had died at the tender age of 49. His passing alone is sad enough, but as time passed, and details emerged, news that his death was as a result of suicide made the somber news all the more sullen.

A hero, slain by his own hand, motivated by an invisible force…heartbreaking.

As a paramedic, I’ve seen suicide in many forms, and felt the cold caress of its far-reaching tentacles many times throughout my near forty years of life. I’ve lost friends, those considered family, I’ve seen an incalculable number of dead — really, I can’t tell you the number — I honestly lost count…

Suicide is no longer something I judge, having been on the edge of an overpass myself, and having lost my mother and sister to its sinister fate, judgement is something I no longer find worty of merit. Who am I to judge another’s life…? Or its end.

After reading the article I sat back against the couch cushion. I felt unworthy of sorrow or grief; after all, I never knew Mr. Jason David Frank. I did, however, know Tommy Oliver (the Green Power Ranger). Each day in my younger life, when that final bell of school clamored its tune, I would bound for the door and jog home with zeal and anticipatory bounce in my step. I did this because upon reaching the front door of my childhood home, I knew that by the time I had procured a snack and beverage from the fridge, The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers would be airing on my television screen!

I watched Tommy battle his demons as well as other evil entities, I peered on with excitement as he transitioned from the Green Ranger to White (holy cow, what a cool moment!) The show and all of the aforementioned heroes of fiction are often relegated to being called, “kids shows,” and while there is some objective truth in that assertion, the teachings of these scripted figures of good are ubiquitous and laden within many other aspects of our lives;

be kind to those around you, always help where you can, never stop believing in yourself, don’t talk back to your parents, always tell the truth, and of course…say no to drugs. All merited pieces of advice that we each adopt in some form or another.

And just as the advice is more grounded an applicable when coming from a professor or trusted advisor, heroes are more human than we once thought them to be. Especially when it’s just a guy or girl playing a role.

Jason David Frank was many things to many people, and his loss will be felt in different ways by many more.

For me, the death of the Green Ranger simply acts as further grounding that heroes are human — thus stresses the importance of kindness, compassion, and humility. Be kind to yourself, to those around you, and to those who challenge you. Have compassion toward yourself even in moments where you feel undeserving, gift compassion to those who cannot gift it to themselves, do this, and there will live a circle of healing and acceptance. Finally, own a sense of humility; understand that you can be wrong and corrected without being invalidated and belittled. Humility lends itself to growth, personal, spiritual and beyond.

We are all human; we each spin on this Catherine wheel of life, our judgements are not wholly true, not of self and not of others, so why not cultivate kindness and empathy before fabricating reasons not to…?

To my hero, the Green Ranger…it’s morphin’ time!

Rest easy.

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