I remember the day clearly. I got a phone call from my sister, who was going on a mile a minute about the death of someone. I didn't know who she was talking about so I thought a friend of hers died. When I asked who died, she was shocked that I didn't know. So, that's how I found out the news. My mom couldn't believe that I didn't know. She asked what happened to me. My parents weren't too thrilled that I was going to BYU, and my mom thought I had joined a cult or something that wouldn't allow me to keep up with events in the outside world. But I was just too involved in the activities and excitement for incoming freshmen to watch television. I didn't bring my own TV with me and I never went into the recreation room at Deseret Towers. Not that I thought August would be an eventful month anyway. Even now, I rarely watch the news on the weekends, so I'll miss something until Monday rolls around. But, because I heard the news from my sister and not television, Diana's death doesn't feel "real" to me. The same would happen two years later when I met for a study group to go over the hard concepts of Physical Science for an upcoming test. One of my study group partners casually said something about John and Caroline Kennedy in a missing plane. She didn't know the details and because she said "Caroline" (the name of John's sister; his wife's name was "Carolyn"), I panicked. Two of JFK's children gone? I couldn't concentrate on science after she said that, so I rushed home and sat glued to CNN to hear the details for myself, saddened by his death, but a little relieved that both of JFK's children didn't perish that day.
In a way, those two tragic deaths were bookends for my BYU experience...Diana's fatal accident in my first semester and John Kennedy's in the summer term before my last semester at BYU. I admired both of them. In fact, a part of me had a secret wish to see John and Diana hook up in marriage and produce lots of beautiful offspring! They are about the same age (John born in 1960, Diana in 1961). A year or so ago, the news came out that Diana did have an affair with John, partly to make Sarah Ferguson (the former Duchess of York and her sister-in-law) jealous because it was Fergie who wanted to get with John. Gosh...everyone wanted to sleep with John (including Madonna). That's why he was my idol...he had his pick of women! I'd have stuck with Daryl Hannah myself, but his mother was dead set against it.
Anyhow, Diana has always been a popular figure in our household...probably due to our sharing a common famous ancester or two (Noah Webster and Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland). But additionally, she brought warmth and real humanity into the emotionally cold house of Windsor (if we were Brits, we'd definitely not be "Royalists"). She was a breath of fresh air. She was someone I wished that I could have met. Since her Royal Marriage in 1981 (or was it 1980?), no other woman I've ever seen was as beautiful as her. All beauty pageants were in vain, because I thought no other woman held a candle to Diana. And she only grew more beautiful with age.
One of my first biggest shocks at BYU was hearing classmates talk bad about her, especially in the aftermath of Mother Teresa's death a week later. It's like to honour one person, they had to put down the other, not realizing that both women did good for the world. True, Diana got more attention...but that's just the way our world is. Diana was blessed with beauty and used it for good. Who can forget her last year of life when she pursued the cause of getting rid of the world's landmines? Who knows what she could've done for our planet in the past decade? She didn't even get to see age 40. As her brother said in his eulogy, God took her at her most beautiful and that's how she'll be remembered in history. All I know is that the world has been a lot darker in the decade that she's been gone. She is definitely missed. She was and always will be, the Queen of my heart.