To those of us enamored of Carrie Fisher, the most important person in your life, you were a comfort. You helped an icon be the best she could be. You were there with her to the end.
May I share a couple of personal stories with you?
In 1977, my parents went on a date to see a movie. I don’t know whether they argued about what to see, but ultimately they saw Star Wars. They tucked away the name “Luke” on the chance they had a boy in the near future. I arrived nine years later and was instead given the name of the space princess who saved a galaxy. Inevitably, I grew up watching Carrie in A New Hope over and over again. She stood up to an entire fucking Empire! I can’t impress upon you enough what that felt like, to see a woman staring defiantly in the face of oppression and darkness. It was an honor to have such a name as Leia. When I felt weak, I looked to her character for guidance. “What Would Princess Leia Do?” became a mantra.
She gave me new hope every time I felt hopeless.
Learning that the woman who played her was just as strong and just as fiery was AMAZING. Carrie Fisher was outspoken and honest about everything, even when the world at large told her she shouldn’t be. She struggled with being bipolar, and spoke candidly about the stigma surrounding it.
That’s when you came along. Seeing you became synonymous with knowing she felt more at peace with herself. You helped her so much, Gary! In fact, my second story is about you.
In May 2015, I attended a Dallas convention in a spur of the moment decision. My time was spent showing a convention newbie around the place. When we entered a hallway between the dealer room and the autograph area, you zoomed out to us, barking happily. We squatted and gave you a couple of pets before I froze. A voice I knew all too well rang out in the quite hallway.
“GARY, MY LOVE, COME!” she called out and off you went, tongue out, tail wagging.
I gripped my companion as we stood, ecstatic that I’d gotten to meet you.
You probably don’t need me to tell you how great she was, as you knew her much better than I did. My awe of her was spent largely from afar, one of many many fans of her work, both onscreen and off.
It doesn’t make me sad I never officially got to meet her, because I get to see her whenever I’d like. I get to share her story with everyone and describe how a princess could save herself, an entire galaxy, and ultimately, me. A whole new generation of people just got the chance to fall in love with one of the greatest heroes of our time.
That will always be what Carrie Fisher was to me…A hero.
I am so sorry that she has left your side, but please let me say from the bottom of my broken heart: Thank you, Gary.