Carrie Fisher, and Why Fans Mourn Stars Passing

Carrie Fisher in “The Force Awakens”

This has been a rough year of loss friends, full of the unfortunate passing of many beloved stars. Just this morning, it was announced that Carrie Fisher was taken away, adding her name to the tragically long list of losses for 2016. Gene Wilder. David Bowie. Alan Rickman. And far too many more.

As it always seems to happen when an actor or personality passes, I’ve already begun to read and hear how people think fans are overreacting. “They just played a role” is how the line usually goes, “it’s not like they WERE the character or anything.”

But… they were. Sure, there are many aspects that go in to bringing a beloved character to life which are worth noting and honoring. Authors, costumers, composers, lighting techs and many more play an invaluable role in making a character what they are, and how they are perceived. But these actors breathe life in to them, and invest in to them. They infuse themselves in to the character, until they are one in the same.

So to me, Carrie Fisher is Princess Leia. She is the fearless rebel general, fighting for justice in the galaxy. She has elevated two hair buns and a white dress to an ideal.

That’s just it, really. These actors represent the ideals and truths we form our worldview around. Gene taught us humor in the face of hardships. David taught us how to be fearlessly present, just as we are. Alan taught us about the light in the darkest of places. And Carrie… Carrie taught us that when we have nothing, we still have hope.

So mourn, friends. Do so unabashedly. Experience the sadness of loss, and begin to celebrate their legacy. Move forward, and take them with you: Wonka, Jareth, Snape, and Leia.

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