((((((Hugs to All)))))) ~
If people exist, who doubt that the pain of parental grief is incomparable, Debbie Reynolds has proved them wrong.
Tuesday, 12/27, Debbie announced to the world that her oldest child and daughter, Carrie, had passed after suffering a heart attack on Friday 12/23 during a flight from London to Los Angeles. Carrie, who was 60, the Star Wars Princess, the brutally honest and hilarious author, actor and activist, and her mother were estranged for about a decade many years before. They were reunited and became even closer after Carrie’s bipolar diagnosis.
In fact, they had been working on a documentary about Debbie’s life. Their homes were close to each other, separated by a hill. In one scene, Carrie tells the camera, while she’s walking to her mom’s home, “I usually go to her. I always go to her.” When Carrie enters Debbie’s home, she calls out, “Mommy! Mommy! I’m home!”
Wednesday, the day after Carrie’s passing, Debbie apparently had a stroke, while planning Carrie’s funeral/memorial service with Debbie's son, Todd, at his home. The shock, the stress, the anguish, the pain must have overwhelmed Debbie, and she passed at the age of 84 to join her beloved daughter.
Todd stated that his mother’s last words were, “I miss her so much. I want to be with Carrie.”
As a grieving parent, and having met many grieving parents through various on line venues, I believe that most parents feel this way, after their child dies. We can’t let go. We want to continue to be with our children.
In my parental grieving research and informal polling of grieving parents, I discovered that the incidents of severe medical issues, such as heart attacks, cancer, and autoimmune diagnoses, were significantly higher among grieving parents than the general population.
Stress is the Number One Factor in the exacerbation of every medical condition, and there is no greater stress than grieving for your child.
In fact, the overflow of stress hormones can cause a gripping of the heart, known as “broken heart syndrome,” which mimics a heart attack.
Debbie had spent 5 days under extreme duress, waiting for test results, praying for the best outcome, seeing her daughter attached to a ventilator, with machines and tubes and noise and trauma all around her. Debbie was likely sleep deprived and malnourished, which would be typical in this situation.
I can envision this, as it was my experience when my son, Michael, died. But I was much younger, and I had 32 years of experience in that same hospital setting with both of my children. Debbie didn’t.
It was just too much for Debbie, who had had a previous mini-stroke and partial kidney failure and appeared frail in that scene from the documentary. It seems quite plausible that she died of broken heart syndrome.
Now, Todd is planning a funeral/memorial service for his sister and his mother. And Carrie’s daughter, Billie, is grieving for her mom and grandmother. And they, and all of Carrie’s and Debbie’s friends and fellow artists describe their current state as “heartbroken.”
May they find peace and comfort that Mother and Daughter are together eternally.
Broken Heart Syndrome:
Love & Light,