Former One Life to Live star Catherine Hickland (ex-Lindsay Rappaport; ex-Tess Wilder, The City/Loving) lived through the unimaginable when both her mother-in-law, Debbie Reynolds, and sister-in-law, Carrie Fisher, died just one day apart from each other. The actress has no doubt had to stay strong in order to help support her husband, Reynold's son, Todd Fisher, during this time of grief. However, she did open up via her official website with an emotional tribute letter to her lost family members.
"I loved my mother in law. I feel so blessed to have been able to spend seven years with this magnificent woman,” she writes in a blog post titled No Words: Remembering Debbie and Carrie. “We had a lot in common, and we did some seriously good deep talking over those years. Neither of us cared much for small talk. What a relief for us both. Deep talking is what I love to do, which is probably why I make my living as a hypnotist. I love real life, real feelings, imagination, and life experience. I have so many memories of those conversations.”
She continues, "Anyone who has spent time with Debbie will remember how she spoke of the stars and art of cinema history openly and thoughtfully. She told the best stories. Ever. I was lucky enough to sit at her feet and take them all in. Any time we watched a movie on TCM together, I asked about everything and everyone. One night we were laying in bed channel surfing when we landed on, The Aviator, a film about Howard Hughes. While we were watching, she told me a lengthy and fascinating story of the first time she met 'Mr. Hughes' who gave her one of her first starring roles in Tammy and the Bachelor. What a comfort it brings me to know, that the memories do not leave with the person who gave them to you."
Hickland also opens up about her relationship with Carrie, who she says created some vivid memories during her and Todd's 2012 wedding ceremony.
“Carrie was Todd's ‘best man.' Carrie did what Carrie wanted and everyone understood that, so I didn't think a thing of it when she smoked an e-cigarette throughout the entire ceremony,” the actress shares. “At one point she spontaneously suggested that Todd, I, and our friend and pastor, Henry Cutrona, take a hit off of the ‘peace pipe' to seal the deal. What were we going to say? We all took a puff. The guests howled. During the prayer before the rings, when everyone's eyes were closed, Carrie dropped the ring. Ping! It went rolling in a circle, causing a few people to crack their eyes open and sneak a peek to see what was going on, only to find her on all fours looking for the ring before the prayer ended. I admit, I was peeking. The look on her face was priceless. She found it in time.”
She continues, “On this last Christmas Eve, as I was tucking Debbie in, I asked her how she was being so strong amidst such a painful crisis [of nearly losing her daughter], and she said, ‘all of this is very stressful, I am trying to keep my stress levels down, because if I allow it, it will take me.' Now, thinking back, I realize at that time, there was still some hope that her daughter might somehow miraculously pull through, and if that happened, then by God, she was going to be here, strong of mind and body to be by her side. After Carrie left for her next stop, Mom decided to go ‘Home' and be at peace with her girl. Losing one was enough of a shock, losing them both at once was unimaginable. Never in a million years did we see that coming. To say I will miss Debbie, and Carrie, two of the most powerful personalities I have ever known, seem like insignificant words. It will be much more than missing.”
To read Hickland's full tribute to her mother-in-law and sister-in-law, click here.
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