It seems that one of the most gripping moments of each Academy Awards celebration is the somber slide show of those movie luminaries who passed away during the year. Blubbertime. It seems like something personal and of great value has been stolen from the living. These were people most of us knew only from the news, movies, credits. These were people who dedicated their life to enriching the lives of others, people who presented the world with beauty, insight, excitement and fascination. And, every time those faces slip past us on the screen, you have to wonder if they knew how loved they were. Did we bother to write to them? Not enough.
This has been a week of cultural losses; Annette Funicello, Margaret Thatcher and Jonathan Winters. Annette Funicello, the darling of American television and movies, somehow remained remarkably cheerful through years of degenerative effects of Multiple Sclerosis. She was brave and gracious to the end, so it was especially sad to read Frankie Avalon’s comment that Annette never knew how beloved she was.
Do you remember when Jonathan Winters went through wretchedly difficult times of psychiatric hospitalization in an era of pitiful lack of awareness? How lonely that must have been. Since we benefited from the zany world-view of his mania, how nice it would have been to drop him a note when the destructive side rose to hurt him. And, maybe you did. His wife of sixty years (an interesting tribute to the stability of a man known for instability) preceded him in death. How unbearable that must have been. A note of sympathy from strangers is a wonderful thing.
And, Margaret Thatcher. It is hard to think of a more difficult or more isolated life than that of a head of state. A hate-magnet if ever there was one. Letters of admiration ease the pain of the pressure and disdain, so how worth it to write them. My point here is only to encourage fan letters, letters that spell out what you love and the positives you recognize. You might be surprised at how much a thoughtful fan letter means to someone in the public eye. A fan letter as a love letter, especially in times of difficulty, is a powerful gift. And, for politicians, well, positive reinforcement does more than criticism. People throw faultfinding letters into the garbage but want to live up to admiration.
People who have given as much of themselves to the world as Annette Funicello did should not go to the grave without having known how beloved they were. And, having said all this, maybe you have already written to the entertainers and leaders you like, whose work had an impact on your life.
You may have written a few of them yourself just for the joy of sharing how you feel. It is amazing how touched, strengthened and grateful these people who seem to have everything were at a simple love letter of affection and esteem (Yes, even Queen Elizabeth writes back. Well, her lady-in-waiting does it but with the Queen’s blessing on the royal stationery, and gorgeous it is, too). Yes, there are some you may not hear back from, but it feels good to write to them anyway. Let’s all pick one person whose work we love and say so right out loud to them in our own handwriting. You will have a whale of a time. So will they. And, if you get a response you would like to share, send it on and let’s share it together.
From me to you with love in the air,
Be inspired at Love Letters Live Podcasts and Blog
Like Love Letters Live on Facebook
Listen to Love Letters Live on iTunes
Follow me on Twitter