This year has not been kind. There have been too many losses, too many taken from us before their time.
Richard Adams was the author of Watership Down, a story about a group of rabbits leaving their warren in order to find a new home. I didn’t read the novel until I entered high school but I knew about it thanks in no small part to the animated feature, which my mother actually let me watch.
If you’ve ever seen the 1978 animated movie, that may surprise you. This is not a film for the faint of heart. It is very dark and violent; images from the film often appear on lists for “Movies that Will Scar Your Child for Life”.
It was also a beautiful film, inspiring a love of nature and animals within me. When I got the chance to read the book, I was mesmerized. The story ran so much deeper, far deeper than I had remembered as a child. Hearing the news about Mr. Adams is like hearing part of my childhood has been taken from me, ripped away.
Then, there’s Carrie Fisher.
I remember seeing Star Wars and sitting in the front row of the theatre with one of my childhood friends, Chewbacca large enough to reach out and grab me. But I was glued to the screen, utterly entranced by what I saw. I wanted to be a Rebel. I want to fight the Empire. But there was one thing I wanted most of all. When we headed home, we pretended we were fighting TIE fighters in the back of my mother’s car, my friend becoming Luke Skywalker while I was Princess Leia. It was fitting, really.
I wanted to be Princess Leia. Not simply as a child playing pretend. No, I wanted to be like her, in every way possible.
She was strong. She was smart. She was brave. She spoke her mind. She didn’t wait for permission to act. She took charge when she needed to and made no apologies. She was beautiful, so very stunningly beautiful but she was so much more than that. She broke the mold of what it meant to be a princess: she was not a damsel, she was her own person. She didn’t take grief from anyone, which was more than I could ever say about my younger self.
I loved her for that. I wanted to be her, for all of that and more. I wanted to be that strong, heroic, beautiful woman. I envied her, to a degree. But I loved her even more.
Last year, when Prime and I saw The Force Awakens, I was struck by two things: how much I still loved Leia Organa and just how beautiful she was. She was still so radiant, so lovely and I couldn’t help but hope that I might look even half that good at her age.
And now, a year later, she is gone. I feel as if there is a hole left in my heart with her passing. There is a gaping rend where something was taken away, not just from me but from so many others.
I can’t properly thank these two, who shaped me in my formative years. I can’t properly say farewell of that I will miss them now that they are gone. This clunky blog post is the best that I can do and it isn’t a fitting tribute for either one of them. There is so much more that I want to say, so much more but even that feels empty. I can only say this: Good-bye and I will miss you both. The world is a darker place without the two of you.