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Farrah Fawcett: The Death of an "Angel"
My Catholic View
Written by Tracey Rockwell   
Friday, 10 July 2009 08:32
As I mentioned in my last entry, "two events served to bring the [assisted suicide] issue to the forefront for me in the last week – one very private, and one very public." I first described the private, now read on to hear about the very public event...Farrah Fawcett's passing.  



Farrah Fawcett was buried last week in Los Angeles. Her funeral was celebrated at a Mass at Our Lady of Angels (how appropriate, did Charlie organize that?) Catholic Church. I would have been more surprised had my mother not remarked to me the day she died, “Is Farrah Fawcett Catholic? I saw a clip of her holding a rosary”. Since then I have discovered that she was Catholic, and she was educated at St. Patrick’s, the parish school of her church in Corpus Christi, Texas. She received the last rites the morning that she died. I mention this because I found God sending such a beautiful message last week to our culture in the wake of the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.

Like Diana, Princess of Wales, and Mother Teresa, the two deaths overlapped each other. And, like in the case of Mother Teresa and Diana, the incredible fame of Michael Jackson and the subsequent outpouring of grief from people all over the world following his unexpected death, overshadowed the passing of Farrah Fawcett. The news with regard to Michael Jackson, like that of Diana, was shocking. He was not supposed to die. He was relatively young. He was planning a comeback. He held a special place in the hearts of millions of strangers, not for who he was or the type of life he lived, but because people related to his talent, and the place his music had in the lives of those growing up in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. His freakish appearance and dubious lifestyle were forgotten in the flood of cultural nostalgia his death generated. Much like Diana, it wasn’t so much the passing of the person from this life, but the death of a part of our shared culture – an icon who was so much before us that we thought we knew him.

Farrah Fawcett held that cultural fascination for awhile, but that was many years ago. The sense was that her time had passed – she was old, she had not been much in the public eye for a couple of decades, and when she emerged in the spotlight three years ago it was not for anything appealing or attractive, like a 50-venue concert tour – it was because she had been diagnosed with a deadly cancer. After the initial thoughts of “Oh, too bad”, we all assumed she would slip out of our consciousness and make her passing easy and palatable for us – let us remember her as she was – beautiful, vibrant, great hair. Yet she refused to go quietly into that good night, and in deciding to publicize her slow, painful death from colo-rectal cancer, she has inadvertently become an antidote to the latest manifestation of the poisonous culture of death that marks our declining society – the increasing acceptance of assisted suicide.

As we watched Farrah suffering from the devastation of her disease, we felt her suffering, and admired, and commiserated, and felt compassion for her and her family and friends. She let us in to see the ravages, but also the courage, determination and desire to hold on to a life that she considered a precious gift from God. I admired her. I prayed for her. If her struggle affected a stranger like me, I can only imagine the effect it must have had on her family and friends. They could not help but be changed by walking with her in the last months of her life.

Her ex-husband called her an angel, her partner of two decades called her an angel, her co-stars called her an angel. Beyond the obvious reference to her most famous role in the television series Charlie’s Angels, by all accounts Farrah Fawcett had an innocence, a purity of spirit, a gentleness that reminded those closest to her of an angel. While I won’t comment on her lifestyle, I maintain she was an angel in the truest sense of the word-a messenger from God- in the style in which she died. In allowing herself to be filmed throughout the course of her illness in the documentary “Farrah’s Story” she showed us what it means to value the life you have been given. She showed us that every day is a gift, and our stance before this great gift should be one of reverence. Kate Jackson, a friend of Farrah Fawcett’s for over thirty years, and one of her co-stars in Charlie’s Angels, was interviewed a few months ago on one of the morning TV shows. In commenting on the documentary, she said this, “[Farrah] didn’t do this to show that ‘she’ is unique, she did it to show that we are all unique . . . (T)his was . . . meant to be a gift to others to help and inspire them.”

Most comments on the news stories of Farrah Fawcett’s death concerned the grace and dignity of her passing . Compared to this, self-administering a lethal dose of drugs to accomplish “death with dignity” under Washington State’s I-1000 look like anything but.

Comments

  • 1) fan of ff

    Author: josn soster

    I watched her farrah fawcett funeral and a scriptur was read and I want to know what it was can someone help me.thanks Joan

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