I think you prepare yourself to lose people you’ve never met, people who don’t really even know you exist. But for you it’s still a deeply personal loss but a branch of possibilities falls from the tree of our human experiences and crashes against the cold ground. And in the sense, I think the mourning loss we feel when a celebrity passes is very real and understandably acute.
If you were to tell me right now I have cancer, I’d be surprised. But I’d be prepared for it. My own mortality is something I have often reflected upon. And then, spreading from that, I have accepted that everyone meets their end. Yet that understanding had not spread to Carrie Fisher, the princess of my childhood, the reminder that we each are always seeking to define our place in the world. So when the word came from behind me, “I guess Carrie Fisher died,” the words hit a part of my brain that said, “Why wasn’t I prepared for this?”
I got online and tried to buy a Funko Pop figure of Leia, not the scantily clad sex-fantasy, but the bun-head clean and proper figure. I tried and thought I’d succeeded. I wanted to have that on my desk to remind me that beauty is not superficial, nor is it fleeting, but is found as we continue to tell our own story, as we fight our demons and establish our strengths as Carrie did. It would be a reminder that even though we may think we know what we are in one moment, or maybe even be correct in our assumption, we can be many people throughout our lives and in every opportunity we should still seek to be great.
As I said, I failed to get that Pop figure. By the time that was clear, they were all beyond my ability to afford them. But instead I took pen to paper. This was my second attempt. The first was a one-line drawing that even my daughter laughed at. In truth, I don’t like to draw real people because I don’t feel I can do them justice. But… the loss compelled me to confront that insecurity and do what I could. In order to remind myself that I can be different tomorrow. And the next day.