Today I found out that Carrie Fisher died. 2016 has shown a lot of people dying. People who I will forever miss. Musicians and actors that I loved. So many. But today we lost one who has truly dominated my destiny in a way that none of those others have.

I only knew her from Star Wars. I knew she did other stuff, but Star Wars was where I met her. I wore out video tapes watching those movies over and over in my childhood. I memorized those movies, and I purchased every Star Wars book I could find. And then they began coming out with NEW Star Wars books. The timeline moved beyond the end of Jedi for the first time in my life and showed us what happened later. It showed us how Leia Organa Solo, her husband, and her brother continued to fight the Empire and protect the fledgling New Republic from utter destruction. I remember her raising her children as she fought for freedom in the galaxy. She was the ultimate bad ass mother, turning the galaxy on its ear through the force of her will. She kicked a returned Emperor’s ass when her brother failed. She out maneuvered enemies across the galaxy through cunning and subtlety. And she changed the destiny of a galaxy far far away by simply being there and refusing to ever surrender to the Empire or its minions.

All of this was written by people who watched Carrie Fisher play Princess Leia in those three Star Wars movies. They took the life she breathed into that role and built a galaxy-changing character with decades of experience fighting the Empire and finally driving it into the corners of the galaxy. She even served as President of the Republic, and introduced many of us to the idea that a woman could be President.

Carrie Fisher gave life to one of my generation’s greatest heroes.

A Princess. A Rebel. A Mother. A Jedi. A President.

She will be missed.