Yesterday, while she was flying home from London, Carrie Fisher had a massive heart attack and stopped breathing. Apparently they performed CPR for quite a while on the plane, and she was rushed to the hospital as soon as the flight landed at LAX.
As soon as the news broke, millions of Star Wars fans around the world took to social media, terrified that 2016 would take one more beloved figure from us. It’s widely agreed that 2016 has been “a dumpster fire of a year” (I’ve seen that phrase in way too many places to have any idea of its origin), and while some very positive things have happened in my life this year, I’ve been drained by the number of celebrity deaths like just about everyone else. The ones that hit me hardest were Alan Rickman, Harper Lee, Elie Wiesel, Christina Grimmie, Anton Yelchin, Garry Marshall, Doris Roberts, Gene Wilder, and Morley Safer. On top of that, I’m still shocked and upset over the results of the presidential election, and I’m not looking forward to the end of an administration that embraced hope, love, and equality and the beginning of a new one rooted in greed, fear, and hate.
I keep thinking about Obi Wan Kenobi’s line from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope about the Death Star’s destruction of the planet Alderaan: “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.” Well, yesterday millions of Star Wars fans did cry out in terror, but we will not be silenced. We’re all hoping and praying for Carrie Fisher’s safe and speedy recovery. The Star Wars saga is one of the greatest stories if you’re looking for a tale of hope, of people sacrificing anything and everything to do the right thing in the face of evil. For so many women and girls, my sister and me included, Leia Organa has been a role model for us throughout nearly our entire lives, showing us that princesses can be smart and strong, and generals can be kind and emotional. We’re not ready to let her go.
News outlets have reported that Carrie’s family is with her at the hospital, and I hope that as they spend time with her they’re sharing the love, hope, and support that’s pouring in from all corners of the Internet. There’s not much we can do in this situation, but we’re doing everything we can to help her pull through. As so many of us get ready to celebrate tonight and tomorrow and remember the hope and peace brought to us by the birth of our savior, it seems only fitting to invoke the Force, the mythical basis for the Jedi religion that runs parallel to Christian teachings in so many ways:
May the Force be with you, Carrie. We love you and we need you still.