Something I wrote on my mother's birthday, November 27:
My mother was obsessed with Princess Diana. I was only 17 years old when a fatal car crash in a Paris tunnel ended Lady D's life. That day, my mother was glued to the television. Even though the news channel repeated the same information and images every hour, my mom would not let anyone touch the remote control. She simply watched television and cried.
I am not sure why mami was fascinated by Princess Diana. They shared the same age, short blond hair, light eyes and bright smile. They had also married older men. Maybe my mom secretly wished she had also been a princess.
When I consider my mother's life, the biggest thing I see that she and her idol had in common was their belief in helping others. My mother was the most generous person I know. She incessantly collected old clothes and unused toys from friends and family to donate to our local church. When she could, she gave away food or money to others, even when she herself was in need. It is my suspicion that Princess Diana's charity work is the reason she won my mother's admiration.
After Lady D's death, my mother rushed to buy the single that Elton John dedicated to his late friend. "Candle in the wind" is the song that I remember my mom playing over and over again. When it was released in 1997, it was renamed "Goodbye England's Rose." The name seems fitting now that I've returned from a trip to England.
As I remember my mother's birthday today, I see her much clearer now, I understand her better. I wish she would have lived to at least half a century but these things are out of my control. Her candle may have ended long ago, but it burned mighty bright while she was still alive.