Diana Spencer was born on July 1, 1961, she would have turned 52 today. I remember first hearing about 19 year old Diana when she became engaged to the heir of the British throne, Prince Charles. It was in all the papers and on the TV constantly. In the spring of 1981 Diana prepared for her summer wedding, as I was finishing up my college finals in an undetermined major before the summer break.
June rolled around and I was working a summer job along with being involved in a community theater production of South Pacific. Where I was in my life at that time I couldn't possibly imagine preparing to be married to the Prince of Anything let alone the Prince of England. You see I was the same age as Diana, only 4 months and 6 days younger than the demure Lady Spencer. So for that reason, at least in the beginning, I was drawn to the princess. But as time went on and Diana had her babies and raised them in their royal home, my life went on pretty unremarkable. I eventually married in 1992, and I truly believed like Diana that I was in a happily ever after marriage.
As we all knew back then, the royal marriage was marred with many trials and tribulations, and was far from a fairy tale ending. Then in August of 1996 Diana's divorce became final...and I had just separated from my first husband. As we both turned 35 that year, I began to really notice Diana more and more in the news as her charitable works seemed to have captured the entire world. It made me re-evaluate my own life as she had managed to do so much for others and I felt like I had contributed so little. This was my time I remember thinking once my divorce was in full swing. It was time for me to step back and make some really grown up decisions.
I was in another relationship after my separation I had begun dating someone I had fallen in love with when I was only 21. We thought we could recapture the feeling of our youth as we entered into another relationship, but as life would have it, we were not the same people we were 13 years before and the relationship began to spiral out of our control. It ended in the spring of 1997 and at that time, unbeknownst to me, I was about to embark for the first time since I moved out of my parents home, the journey of living completely on my own. I eventually found a place to buy, a two bedroom two bath condominium, my first home. My offer was accepted on August 26th, 1997 with settlement only one month away! To celebrate, my dear childhood friend, and the Realtor for my new home, (I was her first client) invited me to spend Labor Day weekend with her family down at the Jersey shore. I will never forget that fateful night of August 31, 1997, as we sat playing cards at the kitchen table, the regular broadcast being interrupted with the news that Diana had been in a terrible car crash. I remember looking at the images of the crash, shaking my head and thinking that there was no way anyone could have survived that accident.
It was so sudden, so tragic so incredibly sad to loose Diana. She was a young women making serious impact on our world by doing so much good. She had begun to gain the respect, attention and admiration of the world as she championed her causes. I wonder what else Diana would have accomplished if she had survived or better yet had never been in that horrific crash. She did leave behind her legacy, Prince William and Prince Harry, who she taught well and prepared them to be real men in this forever changing real world.
For me, I went back to college in 2000 at the age of 38 and became a registered nurse.
I fell in love with and married a fabulous man who together we were able to adopt our two beautiful children Michael and Grace.
I have been involved with charitable works since 2005 raising thousands of dollars for cancer research and awareness through both Susan G. Komen and Relay for Life.
And with the encouragement of another wonderful friend along with the support of my family, I ran two full marathons including the New York City marathon on November 6, 2011, the day before my 50th birthday.
So thank you Diana for being such a light as well an inspiration and an amazing representative of my generation. But mostly for giving me the courage to take on new challenges and the grace to succeed at them. If there was one person I could ever wish to meet, of all those living and gone, it would be you.
Happy Birthday Diana, may the angels help celebrate this day as we remember you with much love.