Opinion: Readers on Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and the mother-child bond

In this 2003 file photo, Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher arrive at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills.
(Jill Connelly / Associated Press)

For all the surprises and trauma 2016 threw at us, nothing could have prepared us for the day-apart deaths of cultural icons Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds.

Their sudden departures earlier this week prompted several readers to pen stirring appreciations of two actresses who had entertained them over the years and struggled so publicly. Most of the letters relate to the mother-child bond between the two and the crushing grief Reynolds must have felt after the loss of her daughter.

Here are some of their letters.

William Goldman of Palos Verdes Estates makes a resolution for the new year:


“Broken heart syndrome” is a recognized medical condition that, one can safely assume, took the life of Reynolds. The loss of her daughter the day before her own sudden death is the ultimate respite from overwhelming grief. Fragile lives suddenly gone are a reminder of our vulnerability. 

Life is short and hard. We need to be kind to each other in 2017.
William Goldman, Palos Verdes Estates

The year 2016 has been a sad and difficult year marked by the deaths of so many greats, on top of a backdrop of the harsh human divide in our nation. Life is short and hard. We need to be kind to each other in 2017. 

JoAnn Lee Frank of Clearwater, Fla., meditates on the mother-child bond:


No bond can ever compare to that of a mother and her offspring. And no matter what age, it will always be her baby. A mother’s love can be so strong, that she would even lie down and die for her young, which is exactly what Reynolds did after the inconsolable and untimely death of her daughter. 

There is no happy ending for this heartbreaking story. And so it goes.

Janet Whitcomb of Rancho Santa Margarita relates to Fisher and Reynolds:

Like Fisher, I was an honest kid. This made for a contentious relationship with my mom. But we survived. 


If I had predeceased my mom, I know her grief would be extreme. As it is, losing Reynolds is like losing my mom all over again.

Los Angeles resident Laura Sines lauds Fisher as a feminist icon:

I came of age during the 1970s, a turbulent decade for feminism. Many people insisted that women could not understand math, were too weak to run a full marathon or could not succeed in business because they had never participated in team sports.

Against that background, Fisher’s role in “Star Wars,” especially her “into the garbage chute, flyboy” line was revolutionary. It may seem tame now, but it wasn’t then.


Lew Parker of West Covina ends with some “Star Wars” humor:

Cardiologists managed to keep alive and find a heart for then-71-year-old Darth Vader (also known as Vice President Dick Cheney). Therefore, I find it bitterly ironic that, several years later, today’s state-of-the-art medical science could not do as much for our beloved 60-year-old Princess Leia.

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