Just Not Feeling It

In memory of a young MS friend….

This morning I went to my weekly bible study and chatted with one of my study sisters who also has MS. She mentioned how affected she was by the death of Annette Funicello, both as a fan and as a person living with multiple sclerosis. I asked her to clarify.

While I knew the former Mousketeer and movie star had MS, I had heard that Annette died of a stroke. At age 70, that was certainly very sad, but a little distant from me. But my friend at study told me no, that Annette died from complications of her multiple sclerosis. That struck me deeper, but still, Ms Funicello was much, much older and likely had advanced progressive MS. I can often easily put out of my mind what I don’t want to think about.

At home, and working on this week’s blog, I saw on one of my MS Facebook communities that someone posted RIP Joanna Jordan. The name was in blue. Often I have wanted to address a message to someone and hit something too fast and that person’s whole name pops out. I assumed this was the case and asked the FB friend to correct herself, likely she meant RIP Annette Funicello as we had all been saying that for the past two days.

That had to be the case as the Joanna Jordan I knew was a beautiful, 39 year old mother of three with a vibrant smile who was also living with MS. She welcomed me into the social media communities’ right from the beginning and encouraged my writing. She was quick to offer positive comments and to laugh along with me at some of my crazy antics and add some of her own. Only days before, she had answered a question for me on the FB version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, adding 10,000 dollars to my online account. Clearly the FB friend was having a bad MS day and hit the wrong button with her RIP comment.

But she did not. After researching I learned that the comment was not wrong. The wonderful Joanna Jordan who had become my friend in recent years, had died that morning, only two days after a more famous MS’er passed away. The reasons for Joanna’s passing are still unknown but with no obvious signs of distress, complications from multiple sclerosis are a possibility. The shock is still cutting.

I base my writing on learning to appreciate life and all it’s idiosyncrasies by keeping a sense of humor. I believe laughter is excellent medicine. I believe that sharing a smile with someone is an amazing gift. My friend Joanna believed this too.

But sometimes you just need to cry, to sob, to pour out your heartbreak in wet tears all over your world.

Sometimes MS just isn’t funny at all…


Out of respect for Joanna and her family, this will be my only blog posting this week. My deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of the lovely woman who I’m sure greatly influenced many, many lives.


Image courtesy of [franky242] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

15 thoughts on “Just Not Feeling It

  1. I felt bad when I heard of Annette’s death. I remember seeing her on TV, and her movies, she was a beauty. I was surprised at her age, I guess I really didn’t know her age. She was always a child, and then a young woman. But she was only 2 years younger than me. I guess I always felt old, and to me she was always young. My MS is slow, but her early symptoms sounded a lot like mine. Thank God she had a loving husband to care for her. RIP Annette

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Barbara. Sad week for the MS community but I hope you are doing ok and are feeling well.

  2. THANKYOU for this writing of your db friend, joanna…..
    Too young… Too young, Too young!!!!
    Also when I watched ET, about annettfu
    It really struck me hard.,as when you see what ir
    Could possibly become…. And possibly is the. key.
    Word!! But none the less , scary !!

    • Thank you so much Jill. I know, this week has been a hard one and kind of makes re-assess a little more. It has left me a little stunned. I still believe that we should live our lives cherishing every moment, even if those moments include tears…. I hope you are coping ok…

  3. I am sorry to hear about Joanna – I did not know her but that does not make it and different…I have lost both of my parents (one at the age of 26 the other at 41). I can feel for the children.

    I was totally floored when I heard about Annette – one of the first things I did after getting MS was helping with the (at the time) The Super Cities Walk…..and it was dedicated to Annette, at the third turn onto a bridge a guy put his car there and played the music from the Mickey Mouse Club……I was explaining this to my husband and I started to cry – you will be missed Annette……

    • Thank you so much for commenting Susan. Think we have a lot to talk about…. So glad that MS’ers can turn to each other in good times and bad.. One of the few pluses that I discovered after my diagnosis is whole new group of wonderfully supportive friends!

  4. I am very sorry about your young friend. I am 38, the mom of two, a wife, and I have MS as well. For the most part I am strong and arrogant and downright flippant in my fight against this disease. There are times though when I struggle and my resolve falters. This was the case when I heard about Annette. I cant accept “complications of MS”. WHAT complications? What happened? Why does it matter? Because she matters, I matter, we all matter. The idea of what happened to such a beautiful human scares me.

    • Thank you so much for commenting Michelle. I love your attitude! MS is a monster and is sounds like you are completely prepared for battle. The whole thing added a new perspective for me, the fatal aspect of this illness is something I had not spent much time thinking about. And I agree with you, WHAT complications and what can we do about them? It just makes me more determined than ever to cherish every day and laugh whenever I can… My very best to you!

  5. Yvonne, thank you once again for a great Blog. I am sorry to learn of the passing of your friend Joanna. Sadly age does not play a factor in death. It does not discriminate just like MS does not discriminate. Last year my first Fb MS friend Holly learned of a friend who was in her early 30’s who passed from a seizure . The seizure was due to steroids that she was taking for a flare up. After that I have learned of many other Fellow MSers whose lives were taken due to complications of MS. From what I have read MS isn’t fatal, it is the side effects of the drugs we take to manage our MS. Love, Hugs and Prayers to all of our MS friends and always remember that Laughter is the best dose of MS.

    • Thank you so much Lee! I have been fortunate in this journey to meet wonderful people like you and Joanna to help me through. I guess I learned the hard way this week that age doesn’t matter and, even though I thought I knew this lesson already, how someone looks doesn’t always reflect how they feel or their health. That is an interesting point that fatalities can come from the medications. It makes sense though… Hopefully we can learn more to protect ourselves and others… Thank you so much for your support and I hope you are feeling great.

  6. Fear not! The words spoken by Jesus so many times in the Bible. Fear not for His arms are open to welcome each of us who believe. The sadness is for those left behind who will miss the conversations, the hugs, the sharing of experiences but left are the memories of laughter, loving and caring for each other. You will meet again one day but until then, fear not. So sorry for your loss Yvonne.

  7. So sorry about your friends passing. It sounds like she was a hell of a woman…. I always thought that a day without laughter was a day wasted, maybe that’s why I am not afraid to make a fool of myself when we all get together. I don’t know I could handle having MS as well as you are, I think that you are doing great with your writing, and you still find time to volunteer. Give yourself time to grieve your friend,but also be proud of all that you are. XOXO

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