Twenty years? Has it really been 20 years?
For all of us, there are THOSE moments. Frozen in time.
My Nanny (great-grandmother) spoke of the Great Depression, the day that will live in infamy, and the train that carried the body of Franklin Roosevelt from Warm Springs, Georgia back to Washington, D.C. For my mother, it was the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, Jr. For me, it is the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, 9-11, and this day…20 years ago.
The death of Diana Spencer, the Princess of Wales.
It began as a fairy tale. I was sixteen. Even three thousand miles away in little bitty Spartanburg, South Carolina, I hung on the news. I copied her hair. My mother and I woke at 3 AM and watched the wedding of the century. LIVE. Of course, like my own life…and most others, hers was not a fairy tale existence. She did not live happily ever after with Prince Charming.
But her life gave us all lessons we can take to heart…
She changed the face of motherhood…especially for Royals. The young woman who had been a nursery worker held fast to her principals. While she had nannies as others of her class have for centuries, she took a more active role in the upbringing of her sons than had been seen in…ages? Through royal engagements, travel, and divorce, she tried her best to be there for William and Harry. And I believe that may be her greatest legacy of all. Motherhood.
But she was so much more than just a mother. She was the VOICE of underprivileged. She was a vocal advocate for the early AIDS movement, doing much to alleviate the stigma and educate the general public simply through her presence and compassion. She went against the grain again with her efforts on land mines. And so many, many, many more.
And she was HUMAN. She shared her pains. And through that gave voice to other young women facing the devastation of eating disorders. She had just begun the walk that was certain to inspire other divorcees to reclaim and rebuild their lives.
She was a REBEL (and we all know how much I love those).
No, she was not perfect. She did not live a fairy tale. Far from it. But what she showed me most of all…
Keep going. Keep doing for others…even through your own tears. Especially through yours tears.
Few of us will ever have the platform from which to touch as many lives as hers did. But each and everyone of us can carry on her legacy in small ways each and every day. I try to. And I hope you will too. Today and every day.