Christopher Reeve and George Reeves.

Two men, unrelated, with almost identical surnames.

These two men died young, in the prime of their lives. George was 45 when he died, and Christopher, 52.

They were both American celebrities who achieved stardom for their acting achievements. Both played the starring role of the hero Superman – George, in the original television series of the 50's, and Christopher, in the big budget motion picture films in the 70's and 80's.

On the surface, the two men's lives seem similar. But each held such different belief systems, effectively changing the direction of how they led their lives—and how they died their deaths.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department report, in the late hours of the night on June 16, 1959, George Reeves died of a gunshot wound to the head in the upstairs bedroom of his home. Witness statements and an examination of the crime scene led to the conclusion that the death was self-inflicted and indeed suicide.

The police report states, "[Reeves was]... depressed because he couldn't get the sort of [acting] parts he wanted."

Christopher Reeve, on the other hand, achieved success as an actor, film director, producer and screenwriter.

Then tragedy struck in 1995.

After an accident in a riding competition where he was thrown from his horse, Reeve became a quadriplegic. He required a wheelchair and breathing apparatus for the rest of his life, until his eventual death in 2004, from cardiac arrest.

Five days after being thrown head first to the ground, Reeves regained consciousness. His doctor explained that he had destroyed his first and second cervical vertebrae. After understanding that not only would he never walk again, but he might never move a body part again, Reeve considered suicide.

He mouthed to his wife, Dana, "Maybe we should let me go."

She tearfully replied, "I am only going to say this once: I will support whatever you want to do, because this is your life, and your decision. But I want you to know that I'll be with you for the long haul, no matter what. You're still you. And I love you."

Reeve never considered suicide an option again.

Instead, he underwent surgery and extensive rehabilitation, pushing himself to the limit in his daily therapy sessions. Once stabilized, but still paralyzed from the neck downwards, Reeve used his name and celebrity status to lobby on behalf of people with spinal cord injuries and founded the Christopher Reeve Foundation, which has given tens of millions of dollars towards research and grants to improve the quality of life for disabled people.

Reeve also hosted the Paralympics, narrated, directed and produced films, appeared at the Academy Awards, made a trip to Israel and discussed its progressive research in spinal cord injuries on Larry King Live, delivered speeches across the country, wrote best-selling books that remained on the New York Times bestselling list for weeks, won several awards and starred in acting roles.

And he did this all in the years following his accident, despite his extensive disability.

Each of us is a Superman with superhero status. We have each been given a divine core with infinite potential to reach "stardom." Yet as great as we can reach, is as far as we can fall.

There are times in life when we feel like true stars. Things are going our way. We've reached the pinnacle of success, or realized an important life aspiration. We feel content and happy. The sun is shining brightly on us.

But then, just as suddenly, the tide turns, and we find ourselves in middle of a terribly dark and haunting storm. Our dreams have been shattered, our expectations broken. The world that we once knew is no longer the same, and never will be.

Challenges sap us of our very joy and vigor and drain all the vitality from our lives.

How do we react to our predicament? Do we sink into depression, focusing solely on the unfairness and cruelty of our destiny? Do we rage against an uncaring, G‑dless world?

Or do we rise to the occasion, investing superhuman strength into fighting the obstacles in our paths? Do we resolve to make the best of what fate has thrown our way, celebrating our life to its fullest, while bringing as much joy and purpose to those around us?

We cannot judge anyone's choices. We cannot fathom their circumstances or their demonic, inner struggles.

But at some point or another, at least to some extent, each of us must face such a choice in our own lives.

And, ultimately, only one is the path of a real Superhero.