A day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died, Debbie Reynolds said — according to her son — “I miss Carrie. I want to be with her.” A short while later she was gone. Amidst the sorrow, especially for the family members who now have to mourn the loss of two loved ones, there is a profound example of how powerful love can be. It can literally propel someone from this world into the next. The news reports say that Debbie Reynolds died from a stroke. But I don’t think how she died is as important as why she died. She wanted to be with her daughter. The bond that connected them, the cord that tied them together in this life was so strong, the ocean between life and death had to be crossed by both of them. One could not be left behind.

We are living in very unloving times, both in the outside world and in this country. We are about to inaugurate a president whose battle cry of “Build a wall!” has now been picked up by seventh graders who chanted that to their Hispanic classmates. The young girl who filmed it with her phone has had to change schools, she felt so intimidated and uncomfortable. Incidents of racial hatred, of prejudice against Muslims, has risen dramatically. We will have a president who has shown contempt for the decorum and dignity of the office that all presidents before him have honored. We will have a president who openly and gleefully talked about grabbing a woman’s genitals. It is not a stretch to say that these are angry, unstable, and fearful times.

Yet, in a holiday season that’s supposed to be about love and peace, we have a towering example of just how powerful love is. A mother didn’t want to stay here without her daughter, declared that she wanted to be with her, and then left to be reunited with her. If we can’t take a moment to stand in awe of that, then we are really in trouble.

In the song Mother and Child Reunion, Paul Simon wrote about “this strange and mournful day.” It’s an apt description for right now and for the loss of two remarkable women. But in the midst of mourning, we can lift our eyes higher, open our hearts wider, and rejoice in the sheer power of love, in the capacity of two human beings to slip beyond the bounds of this world and be reunited in the next, because their hearts would settle for nothing less.

9 Responses to WHAT LOVE CAN DO

  1. Jodie says:

    Inspirational! And thank you for making it a little easier to accept this loss.

  2. Robert DuPont says:

    So Beautifully said Patti
    About Love and How Strong the Love was between Debbie
    And Carrie.
    Thank you
    Beatrice Dad ❤️

  3. karen thomson says:

    Beautifully written,tear in my eye reading this.

  4. David Marks says:

    To be abundantly clear, Patti, you’ve managed to coalesce and unite one event with another so beautifully, I’m again warmed; yes, exquisite indeed. I’ll selfishly abandon good taste and say that my parents died only eighteen hours apart, each from natural causes. I’m reminded of that special kind of love, and although in Carrie and Debbie’s case, that was mother and daughter, relating to that vacuum so suddenly, can foster an immediate and unbearable trauma. Thank you, Patti.

  5. Amanda Henn says:

    Patti, you are so right love can be so strong that it can not be separated. I saw it once before, the day of your fathers funeral. I saw in your mothers eyes that a part of her left that day as well.
    Thank you for you words, they help explain these crazy times.

  6. Carole Ita White says:

    Very wise and poignant. Thank you for sharing your insight. Wishing you peace and kindness in the New Year and always. cw

  7. Erika Griesemer says:

    Beautifully written. I once wondered what that is like. I saw the love between my grandfather and his second wife and i saw loved lost with my grandma but it is still rarely seen these days. I hope to have a great love someday myself but I pray it would happen soon. But As Paul once said, All we need is love.

  8. Caren Kaye says:

    I love all of your stories. They ring something inside my heart that these are my truths as well. You write so beautifully and honorably. I actually remember the words and the message as soon as my eyes view the page for the first time.
    Thank you

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