Farrah Fawcett died just a little while ago, so I'm reposting this with an added message.
Rest in peace Farrah, you are truly an angel now.
I grew up in a little town on Lake Superior. Ashland was the center of my whole world. I knew the town I lived in and occasionally visited the other smaller towns nearby, but always knew where my home was and the people that lived there.
In high school, I had a largely miserable experience. I was awkward and shy. I had good friends, still in touch with most of them and still consider them to be the best friends I’ve ever had. Especially Angie and Tracey, I wonder what would have become of me without them.
I struggled in high school with various adolescent problems. I had braces, I had to wear headgear 18 hours a day, I had acne and I never, ever had even one date. I didn’t go to any prom and sometimes that realization made me very sad.
A lot of the time, I spent my evenings studying and watching TV and being envious of some of the people I saw each week. There was Marcia, Marcia, Marcia from The Brady Bunch. I was so glad she wasn’t my sister, she was beautiful and perfect and had really cute clothes. Marcia’s life was blonde just like she was.
And then in high school it was Farrah and Farrah’s hair. She was gorgeous. Her hair was the color I always wished I had been born with. Her teeth and skin were perfect. She made being beautiful look effortless. No amount of time would be too much if I could look like her, even if the only thing like her, was my very dark brown hair.
And so like many of my friends, we got the Farrah hair do. Feathered bangs that required Final Net to stay in place. Final Net could keep those bangs suspended along the sides of our heads during a blizzard with 40 mile an hour winds. It was great stuff, we curled and plumped and pushed our hair around with our hands until it was just perfect and then doused it with enough Final Net to leave it virtually solid.
By the time I got my own “Farrah” do, I was 17. It was right before my sister Mary’s wedding. My braces were off, my skin had cleared and I had just returned from a trip to Europe with the German Club. My life was sure to be golden now, I was packing “Farrah” hair.
But my senior year in high school was pretty much the same as the previous three had been. I spent most nights alone, watching TV and doing my homework. I had a few more nights out with friends and when I finally turned 18. I would go out every weekend with my friend Tracey. We would go to the Wooden Nickel, stand together waiting for someone to ask us to dance on the lighted dance floor with the disco ball and mirrored wall. No one asked. We danced with ourselves.
I could never really figure out what we were doing wrong. Of course when I show my husband pictures of Tracey and I, he says all the men in our town were stupid and that he would have asked me out right away. Isn’t he sweet?
I guess I figured out that I wasn’t enough like “Farrah” to attract the kind of attention I hoped for. After all, my hair wasn’t nearly as full, not as wild looking, too dark and lets face it even at 18, my body was not like hers.
And so my life went on. I never did get my Farrah look just right. I opted for shorter and less pouffy hair, I did go for a lighter color though and admit that I am happier with my light brown hair. Of course mostly it’s just easier to cover the gray with the lighter color. Not a very Farrah thing to do I suspect.
And that brings me to this week.
I’ve had a back thing going on for years now. The past week has been like many other weeks, it hurts a lot and I just want to stay as close to my bed and my heating pad as possible. Since the pain now runs down both legs, at least I feel like it’s equally distributed. No favorites here anymore.
But on Tuesday, I suddenly had a toothache. I haven’t had a toothache in a long time. The weird part is that the tooth that hurts is one that I’ve had crowned and a root canal. So yesterday I went to the dentist. I’ve been going to the same dentist for over 20 years, he looked at my swollen face and briefly looked at my gums and said “you need an oral surgeon”.
So a couple of phone calls and a few hours later I was in an oral surgeons office. He explained my options and I scheduled my surgery for 2 weeks from now. It’s not a big deal, I won’t loose my tooth and they are just going to take out part of my tooth that is developing an abscess. In the meantime, i have antibiotics to take and mouthwash. It’s not that bad and actually this morning the swelling is almost gone and the pain is gone.
I’ve got it pretty good.
So last night when I was home from my day of running around, it was a relief to take my meds and put my legs up and relax. I was exhausted and my legs and hips were hurting, my mouth is swollen and hurt. What a day. So I got my meds, a soda and a green popsicle and sat down to watch something, anything to take my mind off of my problems.
I turned on the TV and had no intention of watching the Farrah Fawcett special, but like so many other things, I got sucked into it and sat and watched.
I watched this woman, this amazing woman, show me what cancer was like. She showed me what her treatments were like, she showed me that she was a partner with her doctors and worked hard to get to know all about her disease and all about the treatment options. She traveled to Germany for her treatments that weren’t available in the US. She showed us the happy times when she thought the battle was won.
And then Farrah showed me what it looks like to die from cancer. And when the most iconic part of her was gone, she showed me that too. She took off her knit cap and showed me her head without that beautiful mane of hair. And much to my surprise, she was even more beautiful.
That lovely thick ash blonde hair, her crowning glory, the thing I envied was gone. Farrah herself had shaved it off and now proudly showed her bald head and her smile. This brave woman, without her hair was the most amazing woman I’ve ever seen.
I can not compare my illness with cancer. I have pain and there are days when I feel like just sitting in the house and shutting myself off from the whole world and crying. There are days when I’m happy and play catch with the dogs and go for a long walk. There are never days when my back and hips and legs are pain free, never.
But I am not dying of this disease and after watching Farrah’s strength and grace I feel very humbled and ashamed that I cause anyone to worry about me and my back issues.
I appreciate the prayers and good wishes and am very thankful for them. But I think I’ll start praying more for others who are suffering much worse things than back pain. And I’ll say a special prayer for those who are suffering the worst pain, the loss of loved ones to any dreadful disease. And finally, I’ll say a special prayer for that lovely strong lady who is brave enough to show us all of her struggles, her losses and her triumphs and now her final battle with her own death. I pray that God will have mercy on her and release her from her human frailties so that she can be free of her cancer and her pain. And I pray that her family will have the strength to let her go even though they so desperately want to keep her close in their loving arms.
Thanks for listening.