Yesterday's news about Valerie Harper hit us hard and we weren't sure why. Then we realized that with her passing, we have lost three of our biggest pop culture heroines from childhood. Rhoda, Princess Leia and Laverne DeFazio.
Each, in her own way was smart, sassy, quick-witted, fiercely loyal,self-assured (even if a bit neurotic in some cases), independent, driven and, most importantly funny.
They weren't the perfect leading ladies. They had flaws and let us know that that was okay. They had brains over beauty and classic style. And they could dress a store window, win a brewery talent show or command a rebel army like nobodies business.
The women behind the characters were also inspirations. Carrie Fisher battled her demons but faced them with humor. Penny Marshall broke down barriers in a male dominated industry. And until the bitter end, Valerie Harper did not give up, showing us courage in the face of great adversity.
The little girls that still live in each of us mourn our childhood heroines. But the warriors that these bad ass women and their alter egos taught us to be will keep on fighting, pushing past our limitations and laughing along the way.