…a barren wasteland of nothingness.
I could make a post just about Carrie Fisher…in fact, let’s start there.
Carrie Fisher passed away today. She had a heart attack on Friday, spent Christmas essentially on life support, and passed today at the age of 60. I’ve spent the last hour crying.
I didn’t know this woman. I didn’t know her friends, her family, favorite cities. I didn’t even know who her mother was until earlier this year. I have no reason to be in this much pain, but I am. Someone on reddit made me feel a tiny bit better. On the whole, however, my heart aches. It started aching on Friday, my whole body was tense across the weekend, and now the lacrimal floodgates have been opened.
Outside of Star Wars, I’d only seen her in When Harry Met Sally and, while at least one of her books has been on my To-Read list for ages, I’d never got around to it. I can’t say that I was some diehard Carrie Fisher fan, but still…I first watched Star Wars on VHS when I was about 11 and it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen in my life. What I loved most about was Princess Leia; a girl with big brown eyes and tons of sass, who carried the title of Princess. A young girl could hardly ask for more!
As I got older, I never found myself half-stalking her actions and film work the way I do with say, Gillian Anderson, but I knew she was writing and she was still there. This changed last year, when I got to experience the awe and wonder of watching a set of actors take up roles some 30 years after first portraying them. Offhand I can’t think of any other set of films or TV where this has occurred and I’ve spent much of this year intrigued by this and especially by Ms. Fisher. I don’t follow many celebrities on Twitter (I’ve followed Mark Hamill since Friday though because he’s good fun), but I was amused by her tweets that somehow found their way into my social media and I was wholly engrossed by how much of an advocate she has been for tearing down the stigmas of mental illness and also how she managed to take on all of her critics who complained about her looks, as if a woman is expected to look in her late 50s the way she did at 19. This year, especially, I had grown to really respect and admire Carrie Fisher, so hear that she had suffered a heart attack and then to hear that she had passed – my newly admired celebrity, my favorite princess since age 11 – this news is heartbreaking.
I think what aches the most is not just the loss of a celebrity I was gaining a newfound love for (seriously, not a month ago, I was thinking that I needed to follow more Twitter celebs and I should probably start with Carrie Fisher), but the fact that she was 60 years old. I understand that she had struggled with drug abuse her whole adult life and most abusers don’t usually live to a ripe old age, but I still see 60 as young. Perhaps, it’s because my parents are at this same age. Both dad and step-dad are 60 and mother isn’t far behind. Ms. Fisher leaves behind a daughter not much younger than myself. Her death, unlike that of David Bowie or Alan Rickman, hits home so much harder because she’s woman I felt I’d known since childhood and now she’s gone. The loss serves as a reminder that life is short and impermanent and that every moment must be cherished because we’ll never known which is our last.
This year has seemed so awful in so many respects, so I suppose this is a fitting way to close it. On a more personal level, I’ve allowed first-job to come before so many things that I’ve drifted from my church, regained all the weight I’d lost the previous year, I’ve watched my family suffer through medical setbacks and suffered through a couple of my own, and I have wallowed in a hole of depression so deep for so much of the year I half wonder if some of today’s tears aren’t just Ms. Fisher, but for just the year as a whole.
Next year will be better, I tell myself. I will write more, I will read more (starting with any Princess Leia-focused Star Wars book in creation, both canon and non, and then I’ll write one if I can’t find anything else that I want), I’ll attend church more, I’ll pray more, I’ll call relatives more. I’ll be a better daughter, cousin, niece, faux-sister, a better person. If I keep telling myself that next year will be better, maybe…just maybe, it will be.
And, so…some of Yoda’s words to help get me through the rest of this day, “Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not.”