And now Debbie Reynolds is dead...2016 is officially FOR THE DAMN BIRDS

And now Debbie Reynolds is dead...2016 is officially FOR THE DAMN BIRDS

First Carrie Fisher dies and now her mother Debbie Reynolds has passed into the ether... how much more of this can one little artistic boy take?

I swear I feel like a kid who just lost his aunt and grandma in a car accident. These two women, who I adore greatly, are now gone. Poof. Nada. FINITO.

I'm very astute when it comes to coping with death. To quote a character from Handel's operatic treatment of Julius Caesar, "He who has a strong heart does not fear death." But, when faced with two unexpected losses in the span of two days, even my coping skills have been stretched to the maximum.

And, despite the fact that I adored them separately, it is also tragic because they were mother and daughter. Debbie saw her daughter die before her eyes and couldn't shoulder the pain of continue planning her funeral. Now, sadly, there will be two graves being filled in the Reynolds family plot.

Debbie Reynolds, like her daughter, was a strong-willed woman who persevered through one of the biggest scandals in Hollywood and continued her eternal reign as America's Sweetheart.

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Carrie often made light of her mother's stardom, but she saw what her mother had to go through in her life. Her husband, Eddie Fisher, cheats on her (and eventually leaves her) with Elizabeth Taylor, and yet Debbie was still able to keep her head held high and take the high road.

She's most remembered for her classic movies like Singin' in the Rain, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and Tammy, as well as award-garnering guest appearances on Will & Grace and The Golden Girls. She is even a voice of my childhood, as she voiced Charlotte in E.B. White's immortal Charlotte's Web:

She was also a humanitarian, being one of the founders (along with my friend, Ruta Lee) of The Thalians, a Hollywood charity founded to support the research and advocacy of mental illnesses. She was supremely dedicated to the group and was always an integral part of their goings-on.

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These losses, literally one day apart, will take some firm soul-searching on my part. I'm not trying to be over-dramatic, but these icons were, and will always be, a part of my life. I've often written of the affinity I have for older women divas and actresses and have always been rather flippant about it. But, there's a deeper meaning for my connection with them.

Older women who have been through the trials of Hollywood and Broadway have a spirit that is hard as steel. It's as if they have a tattoo written across their chests saying, "Been there, Done That, And I'm still goin'!" They taught me, from an early age, to not get bogged down by the bad things that happen in life, but to accept all that is good. To look at life realistically, but understand that it is most certainly not an easy ride.

My pantheon of role models, because of the age bracket I've chosen them in, is constantly shrinking. But, to have a mother and daughter that I loved so dearly die within a day of each other eludes any balm that I have in my arsenal.

Carrie and Debbie never had a "perfect" relationship, but who can boast about an ideal relationship with any family member? I feel that now they'll be happier together, lifted of the burden of mortal life.

I can almost hear the conversation between them...

"Carrie, darling, we're dead...?"

"Where did you think we were, at your hairdresser's?"

"Now dear, you don't need to be snippy with me, we are in heaven you know?"

"I wasn't aware... I guess you couldn't let me have my one moment in the sun, huh?"

"Well, you know dear, that I was never one to relinquish the spotlight."

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