'Star Wars' Billie Lourd Offers Her Take On Grieving
Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, And Billie Lourd
Grief Is Hard; Grieving Through Holidays? Harder Still.
Star Wars' Billie Lourd has a somewhat unique relationship with grief.
Three years ago, her mother, Star Wars legend Carrie Fisher, passed due to complications stemming from a cardiac event she experienced during a flight back to North America to celebrate the holidays. She passed on Dec. 27, 2016. One day later, apparently while helping to organize her daughter's affairs, Lourd's grandmother, Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, passed due to a stroke.
As one might imagine, this double loss would have been devastating for Lourd, who I would imagine was at least somewhat used to having a higher public profile than others due to her family ties. She was also close with both her "Momby" and her grandmother, so as one might expect, losing two people you are close with, particularly around the holidays, would be even harder.
To be sure, she is not the only one to ever have endured loss, but to lose both her mother and her grandmother within a day of each other is terrible to deal with under any circumstance, and she's only 27. She's definitely not the youngest to have to ever deal with such an ordeal, but she's definitely got some good advice for those who might be grieving over the holidays.
"Sending my love to everyone who has lost someone they loved and is missing them a little extra today," she wrote on her Instagram. "I see you. It’s okay if everything ain’t all merry and bright. It can be a mix of all of it. And it’s all okay."
Too often, we try and make the holidays as special as possible, grief and sadness aside, and sometimes, this is more than a bit difficult to bear. Yet, bear it we do, because we feel that's expected. With Lourd reminding us that everything may not be "merry and bright," as she puts it, she's reminding us that we do, in fact, need to grant ourselves permission at times to let the emotion hit us in whatever way it needs to. It's not always something that we find easy, but it's something we need to remind ourselves of, particularly when we're grieving a loss.
She also reminds her audience to "feel all the feelings - the good and the not so good."
Feeling what we need to can sometimes be incredibly scary, but it's also very liberating, even when we think we might not have any tears at all left. Emotions like grief and sorrow are feelings that we very definitely try and shield ourselves from, because we fear that we will be perceived as not "getting over it" or as weak. As social worker Dr. Brené Brown reminds us, “We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions. Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness."
Lourd also suggests some activities to remind you of the person you're grieving.
"Eat something delish they used to love," she writes. "Put on one of their favorite songs. Tell a story about them. Cry about them. Call one of their friends you haven’t talked to in a while."
One of the best pieces of advice that Lourd gives is advice she may well have tried taking in the aftermath of Fisher and Reynolds' passing. It's advice we as a society would do well to remember as well.
"Be kind and patient with yourself," she says. "Don’t grieve in silence. You’re not alone."
We forget sometimes that we aren't alone in our grief. We sometimes forget that we don't always have to bear the weight of our personal pain on our own. We do have our loved ones there when we need them most to remind us that while the pain in our hearts will always be there, we don't have to be alone while learning to navigate our journeys through grief.
It's a potent message and one that we need to keep in mind as we're learning to keep living in spite of tragedy. There will be nothing that will 100 percent alleviate the pain that sits with us - that pain will be there, but it will become easier to bear.
We don't have to be alone, though.