Last night I watched the HBO special "Bright Lights" about Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds. I saw plenty of responses on social media talking about how emotional they felt watching the show but I have to admit that I felt something very different than most people.
Undoubtedly, the deaths of both Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds were tragedies. For a daughter and mother to die so close together in time must be unbearable for the remaining son and for Carrie's daughter. I cannot imagine the grief that they must feel.
At the point of being insensitive, I have to say that what I saw during the special was unsettling. While a close relationship with a parent is understandable, I saw a high degree of codependence between the two women. This aspect of their relationship was not fully explained, probably at their request, but it made me uncomfortable. Perhaps I should back up and give some background before I go any further.
I lost my Mom many years ago. It was incredibly difficult because my Dad had died many years prior to that. The thing that made my own experience so different from that of Fisher and Reynolds was that my Mom never wanted to be a burden on me in her later years. I know that she would never have tolerated, or consented to, living next door to me for starters. She had always told me that her job was done, and that I had to go and make my own way in the world. She loved me without question, and I loved her, but she knew that there had to be a break in the old relationship in order to establish a new one that more accurately reflected the changing times as our lives progressed.
To me, it seemed that the relationship between Carrie and her mother had become broken at some point. Perhaps it was due to all the stresses of their lives in the past, I don't know, but I saw a relationship that seemed to be frozen in time at the stage of late adolescence on Carrie's part. The respect for her mother was apparent, but she seemed to still be stuck in the "I am my own person" phase while not completing the natural separation that most of us go through.
I don't know all of the things that Carrie went through in her life outside of her relationship with her mother, I am sure that there are others who know every detail. Personally I don't care about that, I just say it as a possible cause of the relationship that was portrayed on HBO last night. Perhaps what happened to both of them made them want to return to simpler point in both of their lives, but the show made me sad, just not for most of the reasons that everyone else talked about.