Wes and I went to the movies tonight and saw The Queen. It's an excellent film with a truly magnificent, fascinating performance by Helen Mirren. Watching the events unfolding in the film, which uses lots of archival footage, inevitably makes you think about your own experience of Princess Diana's death.
I don't share much of my personal history on this blog but watching the movie tonight brought up a lot for me. I got married, at 24, in August '94. Five months later, in January '95, my father died. I was exceptionally close with my father. He died 30 days after his 51st birthday. It was a terrible thing to happen to any family. To make things even sadder my grandparents has already lost their other son in his late 20s. He and his wife died together in a plane crash. My grandparents had pretty much fallen apart when my uncle died and then with my father's death they fell apart even more. And in August '96 my grandfather died.
One year later, August '97, Wes and I made a trip to Florida for my grandfather's headstone unveiling. I was eight weeks pregnant with my first child. I was tired. I was sick. I did not want to be in Florida for the fourth time in four years (my dad's funeral, my dad's headstone unveiling, my grandfather's funeral). My grandmother kept a small tv in her kitchen that was on all the time. In her kitchen, full of smells that completely set off my morning sickness, we heard the news about Diana's death. We watched the world mourn for Diana while we dealt with all the loss in our own family. My grandmother seemed bitter that so much energy and grief was pouring out for a woman that the mourners had never known while her own loss was so deep yet unimportant to the rest to of the world. Five days later Mother Theresa died. Her death was completely overshadowed by Diana's. I commented that the loss of Mother Theresa was sad but that it wasn't a shock for a woman her age to die and Diana was so young (in fact the same age I am today). My grandmother pointed out she and Mother Theresa were nearly the same age.
Strangely enough, earlier tonight, I was pointing out to Wes that we always think we'll remember significant events in our lives without needing to write them down. But after the movie I started to talk to him about that week and he had no recollection of it at all. So I wanted to mark it down and hope that we will remember it.