Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher and broken hearts

Carrie Fisher, left, and Debbie Reynolds

Carrie Fisher, left, and Debbie Reynolds

Learned a few moments ago that Debbie Reynolds passed, just a day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher.

The brain can work in odds ways, and maybe this is, indeed, odd. But the whole awfulness of a mother and daughter dying within 24 hours of each other reminded me of a conversation I once had with a friend. She was the mother of a young son at the time, and we were talking about flying. The woman told me she’d rather perish in a crash with her child than live without him. And, at the time, I found that crazy. I was thinking about the fragility of life, and the beauty of sunsets and palm trees; the taste of a delicious sushi roll; the cold joy of a thick milkshake.

But, with age and children of my own, I get it. Being a parent changes you in such profound ways. Mainly, it causes you to live your life for others. A child does not survive for a parent. But a parent does, factually, survive for a child. Like my friend, I, too, would prefer to die with my kids than after my kids. I’d choose to be on the plane.

I don’t know, for certain, whether Debbie Reynolds died of a broken heart. I don’t even know if that’s a real thing, or something we’ve created.

But my gut tells me she decided it was time to go.

She chose the flight.

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