Princess Diana of Wales' sudden and tragic death shocked,stunned and bewildered me as it did so many millions of others. Saturday night while watching late night television I heard the special report of the Paris car crash. At first it was reported that Dodi Al Fayed, Diana's romantic companion and the driver were dead at the site and Diana and her body guard had been rushed to the hospital. Then before I could get used to the idea of her being injured, they announced she was dead.
A strange phenomenon happened to me at that moment: I could not accept this truth. "NO, NO, NO," I cried. "It's a mistake!" My disbelief was overwhelming. I imagined an instant replay and chose a different ending. This unbelief persisted for so long, that a part of me worried for this totally irrational part of me, who would not let "the dream of Diana's life" go in peace.
I sat transfixed to the live coverage most of that night. I clung to every new morsel of information. This is very unlike me. I usually turn off bad news, yet here I was, glued to it like a ghoul of some kind. Why? Why? Oh why? I could have accepted almost any one else's death but her's. Why did she die? Why was I watching all the details over and over and over again? By Sunday morning, I had two TV's side by side. I watched two or more channels by clicking the remote control to any station that showed pictures and images of her or the sudden outpouring of grief by millions of mourners around the globe. I thank God I was not alone. People interviewed spoke of the same weird phenomenon of being transfixed. For one solid week, day and night, I scheduled my life around the news and special reports of this global event.
My emotions ran the gambit from euphoric love, compassion, anger, hate, sadness to emptiness for more than a week. My bewildered husband, by Tuesday angered me when he questioned my need to see it over and over again. I literally cried torrents of tears. Then he infuriated me when he could not understand and see that this was some sort of mystical event that I needed to experience. I had not chosen to have this happen to me, yet, I somehow sensed that there was a great gift or a magnificent treasure here if I was willing to take this journey to its end.
I began to take comfort for myself from the sea of humanity that brought an ocean of love in the modest guise of flowers, candles, cards, teddy bears, hand-drawn pictures and other spontaneous creations of heartfelt emotion, each one mingled with love, loss and contrition. There was a haunting feeling that I somehow had contributed to this disaster by my unnatural curiosity about the details of her life for the last sixteen years. It was love at first sight for me, the moment I saw her so many years ago. I was intrigued by her image and her spirit! I did not and do not consider myself to be a nosy person. Nevertheless, a nagging feeling persisted that there was some responsibility here for me to be honest enough to own up to.
Perhaps that fact accounts for the enormity of my pain. I confess that there is a part of myself I really don't like. When I see a tabloid headline, I feel self-righteousness and I form judgmental attitudes, based in whole or in part on rumor, hearsay, lies and most assuredly negative slant. Why do I do this? Do I need to bring others, especially celebrated people down to the depth of my own shame to feel "okay" with myself? This may be my deepest, darkest secret and I feel so much better to confess it to you here and now.
Now, if I can accept myself, forgive myself, and begin to change this behavior, maybe I'll be able to turn this tragedy into a triumph. Perhaps others will join me and we'll experience the second miracle of this world-shaking event.
The first miracle of which I speak was illustrated in this week-long chain of events that culminated in the simplest, yet most heart surrendering funeral ever. We saw millions and millions and millions of people unified around the globe for one precious moment in time when we were privileged to see how magnificently loving and compassionate we could be. We witnessed Diana dream for us to live, love, laugh, cry, care and share our goodness with each and every other person on earth. Some two billion people were witness to this consciousness-raising event.
The biggest mistake we could make here is to call her a saint and lift her above ourselves. My intuition whispers that she was one of us, very human and that's why we call her "The People's Princess." Yes, she was noble, yet, so are we. We can never go back now. We are documented in living color on TV and in other media, being our best and most compassionate and loving selves. I believe she wanted us to know that fact. Why else had she led paparazzi to those in need? I am persuaded it was to quicken our hearts and minds to take action in whatever way we are able.
As Kings and Queens, Lords and Ladies, people of power and position, the general public, and the lowest of the low, discovered this day that we have more aspects in common than we do that separate us. Love and compassion unify us, while fear disconnects us. It is shockingly simple. Ultimately, there is only love and fear. Love is the legacy that Diana left us. This is a Royal Inheritance that is ours to claim.
The People's Princess, Diana, had a most unique funeral, however I felt personally it was a Coronation - the official crowning of The Queen of Hearts and her mystic Kingdom of Love, similar to mythical Camelot. Here we are invited to become self-appointed ambassadors of goodwill and to go into this wide world and perform "Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Beauty," in the name of Diana, Queen of Hearts. Since Princess Diana and Mother Theresa have departed only days apart, we must reach out to love each other (as they are no longer here for us in person). We can be their Living Legacy Of Love to the world.
This week we glimpsed our power, our flower power. Each flower we laid one next to the other started the trickle that became a stream. The stream became a river. The river rushed into a lake; the lake became a sea, and the sea melded into mighty ocean. This metaphor shows how if we each bring the unique flower of our life and join with others, there are no limits to the good we could accomplish for humanity. We could become the third miracle of Diana's life. I, for one, proclaim myself as a citizen diplomat and an ambassador of good will to my world. The People's Princess is dead; Long Live The Queen Of Hearts!
"Love says it all!"
Return to the November/December Index page