Tuesday was a somber day and Wednesday was even worse, the world lost two amazing, strong women who happen to be mother and daughter, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. It has me doing a lot of thinking about my relationship with my own daughters. It has me assessing just how much I truly love them. Sometimes we take it for granted because they are always there, under our feet, popping into the loo while we’re trying to take a wee or telling us the same story 7 million times but every moment, they add up to our lives and memories and without them what would be?
I’ve seen all the photos circulating of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher from throughout the years and through it all, it seems like they had each other, in the way only a mother and daughter can. There are mothers and daughters who are completely different and drift apart but there are others who grow together and even through the hard times become inseparable. This is what I’ve always wanted my relationship with my daughters to be. This is what I work towards.
You want to be their mother first and you love them always but someday, secretly, you hope they’ll consider you their very best friend above all else because in the end when they are adults and you are equals, that is what we really want…the humans we love the most to like us; to choose us. That seems to be the relationship Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher had in the end. You can see the mutual adoration and love in those old black and white photos.
When I think of one of my children dying before me, I’d like to believe that I would die on the spot. Unfortunately, I know that’s not necessarily true. The thing is, I had a very small taste of what it might feel like when I lost my third child in pregnancy. Truly, the only thing that kept me going was my living children because they were small and they needed me but even then, I spent a good month in bed wanting to not exist, willing myself not to die. The pain was so immeasurable; I have never quite recovered.
It still hurts daily knowing that I am here and he is not. Some things just change you forever. It’s not natural for a parent to outlive their child and there is a special kind of pain and guilt that accompanies surviving your child. But you go on because they cannot. But if my other children were grown and didn’t need me so much, if I was given the choice, I can’t say that I wouldn’t gladly follow my deceased child. I’d follow them because quite frankly, life would be just too fucking painful to survive again. I’ve had my one stay of execution and I hope I never need another one. It takes a lot of strength to survive that kind of loss.
So when I heard the tragic news about Debbie Reynolds having a stroke and dying the day after her baby girl (because they are always our babies, right?) I was sad but not shocked. In fact, I almost expected it because stress, sadness and shock can physically destroy you. She lived a fantastically full life and I think she just gave in to her grief.
Believe me, sometimes it just feels better to give in than to fight. We fight when we have something better to live for but losing a child, it takes better out of the equation. I’m not saying she willfully dropped dead and that she loved her son any less than Carrie, I just think she wasn’t in perfect health and she was devastated by the loss and maybe she did just want some relief from the pain and she didn’t have the will or want to fight.
Anyways, as sad as I am that two strong-willed, strong-minded, outspoken women who lived out loud and on their terms are gone from this world, I am happy that they are together because that’s what I choose to believe. This life is not “it”. This is part of “it” and now they get to be together for the rest of whatever “it” is because when you live your life loving someone so much that you don’t know where you end and they begin, even a day is too long to be apart from them.
Hug your children, folks, because nothing in life is guaranteed and every moment is a chance to love.