We lost some famous people in the past few days - Roger Ebert of Siskel and Ebert fame, Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of England and famous foe of anyone who even hinted at being less than a full fledged Free Market Advocate. Yes, we lost some famous people.
The hardest for me to lose was Annette.
Annette Funicello (http://annetteconnection.com/) was this most popular Mousketeer ever.
That might not seem like a huge claim to fame when you put her next to, say Margaret Thatcher. I mean, Annette didn't run a country. Annette charmed a country. Annette taught little girls like me how to sing and dance and pledge eternal loyalty to Mickey Mouse (yes, of course I can still sing the song. What do you think I am? Abnormal?). Annette taught us that it is possible to surf without ever messing up your hair OR (apparently) getting wet. Annette taught us that being a good girl was not a bad thing at all, and when your teenage years are behind you then being a good Mom means serving the right type of Peanut Butter so the kids are happy.
I loved Annette.
We can laugh about that carefree time and have lots of fun doing it. However, the true strength of this woman was her carrying of her cross.
Annette died from complications from MS. She spent years and years putting a public face on this disease and she did it with grace, with dignity and with that same beautiful smile that charmed a country and a Big Old Mouse. Annette taught us that suffering is not fun or romantic or only reserved for the regular workaday person. Annette taught us that suffering is difficult, suffering hurts.
Annette Funicello, and others like her, prove to the world that suffering does not diminish a human being or makes them less than necessary. Suffering may not be something we look forward to but if it happens we do not need to look for an easy way out. We don't all have to see ourselves the same way people like Kervorkian saw us - we are not something to avoid or dispose of but we are people to care for and love.
Annette was, at her heart and soul, a good Italian Catholic girl. She had a lovely face, talent, charm, intelligence and more than enough grace to light up the room. She could make us smile simply by showing up, even when she was in a wheelchair and speaking in a raspy voice ravaged by disease. When you saw Annette, you saw the Face of Jesus.
Thank you, my dear dear Annette. I will love you and miss you and pray with you and for you. May your soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, Rest in Peace.
M I C
see you real soon
K E Y
why? Because we like you!