Debbie Reynolds's Death Proves Her Bond With Carrie Fisher Was Unbreakable


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Millions of fans all over the world were hit hard by the news of icon Carrie Fisher's death at the age of 60 earlier this week, but none so much as her mother, Debbie Reynolds, who passed away the day after her daughter died. The 84-year-old Oscar-nominated singer/actress reportedly suffered a stroke while planning Fisher's funeral at the home of her son, Todd Fisher. "She wanted to be with Carrie," he told Variety.

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According to Todd, the stress of losing her beloved daughter was simply "too much" for his mother.

"The only thing we're taking solace in is that what she wanted to do was take care of her daughter, which is what she did best," he said, as reported by the Telegraph.

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Just devastating. Basically, it seems as if Reynolds died of a broken heart -- every mother's worst nightmare. But there's no question that Fisher and her mom shared a bond even more magical and powerful than most. True, their relationship wasn't perfect by any means, as anyone who's familiar with Fisher's work knows: The movie Postcards From the Edge, based on Fisher's 1987 semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, famously detailed the pair's (sometimes hilarious) tendency to clash; Fisher also used the real-life pain of spending years trying to escape her famous mother's shadow as fodder for her brilliantly insightful and witty memoirs, including Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic.

"We had a fairly volatile relationship earlier on in my twenties," Fisher said during a joint Oprah interview with Reynolds. "I didn't want to be around her. I did not want to be Debbie Reynolds's daughter." ("It's very hard when your child doesn't want to talk to you and you want to talk to them," said Reynolds in response.)

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Still, it's clear that Fisher always adored her mother. A touching black-and-white photo currently making the rounds depicts a spellbound 6-year-old Fisher watching Reynolds perform on a Las Vegas stage; the photographer who snapped the pic said, "Every place her mother walked, she would walk after her." 

Unbearably sweet! And while some adult daughters might have chosen to stay bitter, and some mothers might have chosen to react to being publicly criticized for their parenting flaws with considerably less grace, Fisher and Reynolds managed to move past their rocky beginnings to become, by all accounts, the best of friends. They were neighbors in Beverly Hills until they died; there's even an upcoming HBO documentary about them (which will be absolutely heartbreaking, if fascinating, to watch now). Their personalities and priorities were wildly different, but in the end, none of that mattered -- all that mattered was the genuine respect and admiration they had for each other. And the love, of course. The love most of all.

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It's safe to say that we'll be mourning the loss of this incredibly dynamic duo for quite some time, but we'll be inspired by their example for much, much longer. The relationship Fisher and Reynolds had proves that there is hope for all adult children and their parents to achieve true understanding, no matter how rocky our early years might have been. The trick, it seems, is learning how to have a sense of humor (something Fisher had in spades, of course). The following quote from an interview Fisher gave this year at Cannes speaks volumes about how she came to appreciate her mother and all that they went through together:

She's a true character. She comes from Texas, so she was groomed to be, 'Hello, I'm Debbie Reynolds.' She calls me: 'Hello, dear, this is your mother, Debbie.' Oh, good, because I thought it was my mother, Howard. So the way we interact is stylistically we're different, and I think that's interesting. But I think to be compared to the Grey Gardens gals, which one of us is doing the flag thing? At least we're not in bathing suits with flags. Thank god we don't have the cats! But we do have the dog.

As mothers, we should all be so lucky to have children who can see past our mistakes and love us for the parents we wanted to be; as adult children, we should all be so lucky to have the perspective Fisher did -- and parents who, in the end, loved and supported us unconditionally. Fisher and Reynolds's story is one many of us can relate to, which is why their loss feels so real, even though we didn't know them personally. And it's why their legacy is one we'll continue to treasure for years to come.

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