They were a couple of Texas girls who went to Hollywood and eventually became the kind of friends who could stare death in the face and refuse to blink. And though Farrah Fawcett lost her brave battle with cancer, her friend Alana Stewart has memorialized Fawcett’s courage and their friendship during the star’s last years.
Even as the cancer that would take her life on June 25 was ravaging Fawcett’s body, both she and Stewart always felt that there was a miracle waiting in the wings, Stewart told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira Tuesday in New York.
Triumph, not tragedy
Stewart is following her NBC documentary “Farrah’s Story” with a book, “My Journey With Farrah: A Story of Life, Love, and Friendship.” The book was Fawcett’s idea, and grew out of diaries that Stewart kept as she became Fawcett’s constant companion during her battle with cancer.
“I wanted the book to be an extension of the documentary, but I also wanted it to be a tribute to friendship, to our friendship. To everyone’s friendship,” Stewart said.
It is also a tribute to Fawcett’s courage, faith and sense of humor. It is not always pretty. Stewart writes, for example, about the time Fawcett vomited 75 times in 12 hours. But it is a story of triumph, not tragedy.
In a second TODAY interview with Ann Curry, Stewart also revealed that Fawcett’s son, Redmond O’Neal, who is in jail on drug charges, promised his mother in a phone call from her death bed that he would never do drugs again.
Stewart told Vieira about the hope of recovery that both friends shared to the end.
“We believed it. We both believed it. Maybe we were in denial,” Stewart said. “We were like these two little tough Texas girls that were just not going to give up. She was incredibly resilient and very determined, and so was I. We just refused to believe there was going to be any outcome except a good one. We talked about it once, and that is how we both felt.”
‘I still had faith’
Toward the end, when it was increasingly clear the anal cancer that Fawcett was diagnosed with in 2006 was consuming her, Stewart said she realized she didn’t know how to talk to a person about dying.
Stewart always felt Fawcett would somehow pull through. “To the very end, I still had faith. I still kept believing that some miracle was going to come along and that she was going to rally again because she had so many times before,” she said.
But the reality remained that Fawcett was desperately ill, and Stewart had no idea how to react.
“I just concluded that I just needed to be there, because I really didn’t know what to say,” she told Vieira. “I could tell sometimes she was frightened. I didn’t know whether to address it and say, ‘No, c’mon, you’re going to make it,’ or just step back and let her make her decision if she wanted to keep fighting or not. I was very confused at that point. I stopped writing at that point. I did not want to describe her dying.”