The Carrie Fisher Question Billie Lourd Always Gets Asked, And Her Complicated Answer

It’s hard enough losing a loved one, in any circumstance. But when your parent was one of the most famous actors on the planet, associated with a legendary franchise set in a galaxy far, far away, contending with your grief can be extra difficult, compounded by the fact that too many people keep asking you how you are doing, even though the reality of that answer changes by the hour. Our beloved Carrie Fisher died five years ago today, December 27, and her daughter Billie Lourd took to Instagram to express her complicated feelings about the loss, while answering the question she says she always gets from fans and followers. It makes all the sense in the world. 

As Billie Lourd points out in her tribute post to her late mother, defining “grief” is nearly impossible, because it’s something different for everyone who is going through it. And the feelings that you might be having about a lost loved one on a particular day, or in a particular hour, can change drastically with the arrival of a fresh memory, or the reminder of an experience, both happy and sad. 

Carrie Fisher was only 60 years old when she died at UCLA’s medical center after becoming unresponsive on a flight back to Los Angeles following the European leg of her book tour. Perhaps contributing to the compounded grief of her mother’s death, Billie Lourd also lost her grandmother, Debbie Reynolds, the day after Carrie passed. On December 28, a distraught Reynolds reportedly said, “I want to be with Carrie,” then suffered a stroke that led to her death in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. That’s a one-two punch of devastation that we know Billie Lourd must still be dealing with to this day. 

That’s why her description about the stages of death as an emotional meal really hit home, as she posts on social media:

My grief is a multi-course meal with many complicated ingredients. An amuse bouche of bargaining, followed by an anger appetizer with a side of depression, acceptance for the entree and of course a little denial for dessert.

Carrie Fisher’s death was deeply mourned by the Star Wars community, who looked forward to her participation in the final feature in the rejuvenated trilogy, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. It was especially sweet and tender because Fisher shared the screen with Billie Lourd in the new Star Wars films, and passed the family legacy down from one generation to the next. Billie Lourd continues to act in a mixture of film and television projects, holding down roles in the American Horror Story series. Her next major project is the romantic comedy Ticket to Paradise, which is coming out in 2022 and co-stars Kaitlyn Dever, Julia Roberts, and George Clooney.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.