With the recent deaths of Carrie Fisher, Alan Thicke, and so many other influencers, I got to thinking about why celebrity deaths impact our hearts even if we didn’t personally know them. I came to two conclusions:
- They fully claimed, owned, and lived out what made them unique, and they did it well.
- They were remarkable human beings to know.
Carrie Fisher almost quit acting, but couldn’t escape the lure of Hollywood—and thank goodness, or we wouldn’t have the Princess we know and love today. Following (or, sandwiched between) her iconic roles in the Star Wars series, she went on to shine as a writer, script doctor, and champion fighting the stigmas of mental illness.
Alan Thicke was a well-known actor from the late 80s but he didn’t stop there, either. He went on to have a family, one he loved and lived alongside with so much vibrance, he died doing something he loved with his youngest and was remembered by his eldest as “the best man [he] ever knew.”
Whenever someone noteworthy leaves us (always too soon), I tend to pore over the tributes from their fellow co-stars, or family. And they always say the same things: how talented the dearly departed was, yes, but more importantly, what a grand person they were to know.
During the later decades of her life, Carrie Fisher became better known for her persona than her actual achievements, although she would probably argue that the shaping of this persona was an achievement in itself, and she would be right.
Amid struggling to grasp why these deaths had to happen so soon, I cling to the aforementioned markers of a life well-lived as common ties between those who’ve left an indelible mark on the rest of us. It’s interesting to note, however, that you don’t have to be an illustrious movie star to leave your mark. I believe any of us, if we have the courage to live out who and what we were meant to be with unbridled love for those around us, have the same ability to mark this world for good.