On December 23rd, Carrie Fisher suffered a massive heart attack on her flight from London to LA. She had been rushed to the hospital and it was said she was stable in the ICU as of Christmas Eve.
We had hoped for the best. After she had been announced stable, we had hoped she’d pull through. If anyone could, it would be Carrie Fisher with her resilient spirit and her inability to take anything lying down.
This morning, it was announced by her daughter that Carrie had passed away at 8:55 am. The world has been in mourning since.
This is the first celebrity obituary I’ve written, and I’m finding it hard to find the words that do Carrie Fisher justice. I didn’t know her–like most celebrities, she is a stranger to me, and what I know of her is from her roles on screen, from interviews and articles. Yet when the news broke this morning, I cried. I was devastated by the news that she was gone, touched by her life even though I had never met her. She had been important to me as a little girl, as Leia was my favorite Star Wars character and someone I could look up to. She stayed with me as I grew older, and seeing the Princess become the General made me so happy — so proud of this character who I’d grown up with and admired. If she could do it, so could I. Only now she’s gone, and there’s a hole where Carrie Fisher used to be.
Her loss has rocked through the world as many, fans and co-stars both, have come forward to offer her family their condolences, to share memories of Carrie, to express their devastation in response to her loss. She was well loved and touched so many lives with her work as an actress, as well as her work as an author, an activist, a mother, a friend.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) December 27, 2016
There are no words for her loss, but we can remember her through the work she’s done, and through the impact she’s made.
Carrie was relatable, charming in her own way as she cracked jokes about her discomfort around being a celebrity, as she spoke honestly about what it was like, from her end, to be the focus of so much attention. She advocated for mental health and shared her experience and struggle with addiction. She embodied what it was, to many people, to live and not be ashamed of her mental illness, of her flaws. She showed what it meant to fight and not give up, even when things got hard, because she still came out smiling in the end.
In interviews and her memoriam, Carrie talked openly about her life. She was unflinchingly honest about the impact and effects of her Bipolar Disorder and refused to be ashamed of it, even when others wanted to shame her for it. She didn’t shy away from how she managed and addressed her addiction, and always told it as it was. There were no sugar-coated stories, nothing to soften the blows of what she faced, what she dealt with, how she suffered and came out swinging. Even in regards to her struggle with her body image, she was to the point, direct, and never stepped away from problems that can’t and shouldn’t be wrapped up with a neat, pretty bow. She fought against shame and sexism and a world of crap to make strides that others couldn’t, which have paved the way for others to feel comfortable with their own illnesses and struggles.
Carrie was an inspiration through more than the characters she portrayed on screen. She has shown the world that people don’t have to be ashamed of the things they struggle with, of the things they’ve overcome. She’s shown that a jewish woman can do anything, be anyone, and isn’t defined by her mental illness. She’s shown that celebrities are just as human as the rest of us, with their own fears and anxieties and dreams and aspirations. She fought for us, until we learned how to fight for ourselves. Though she might be gone, her fight, what she taught us, lives on.
As a young girl, I admired Leia Organa. As a grown, female-bodied human, I admire Carrie Fisher. I admire the woman who kept fighting. I admire the General she became, on and off screen: a champion activist for female voices, for those with mental illness, for those who struggle and fight and never give up.
We’ll keep fighting. Carrie lives on through us, through the issues she fought and pushed against and the ground she gained. We’ll fight, because we know she’d be proud of us. Because a jewish woman was a princess and a general who kicked ass and never gave up. Because someone with Bipolar Disorder didn’t let her mental illness define her, and she didn’t have to fight it alone. Because Carrie kept her head high through it all. She lives on because she was an inspiration to us all.
So, in honor of that inspiration, as requested:
Rest in Peace, Carrie Fisher.