Sunday, March 15, 2009

If The Crown is Too Tight

I recently learned that my mother was a dedicated fan of Princess Diana. The discovery was made while reading one of many diaries mom left behind when she passed two years ago. My mother was always a very practical, math minded individual who loved classical music, played bridge, drew portraits, and wore her education like a badge of honor - no, like a class distinction around her neck. The tastes, celebrations, and fanfare of the lower masses (those without a formal education) were looked upon with disdain. So, imagine my complete surprise when I was told that my mother spent three years grieving over the loss of Princess Diana.
Now, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Diana and I , like everyone else, was saddened by her loss. She appeared to be a very nice person who was caught up in circumstances beyond her control. The operative word here is "appeared". It isn't possible for people outside of her personal circle to know what kind of a person she really was. The press can paint her in any light they choose. I assume they were correct, but who knows? She looked like a fairy tale princess and we assumed (with help from the press) that she behaved as one too. Did she earn the worship that her crown brought her? We'll never know. Did she earn my mother's grief (claiming at one point that she felt worse about Diana than she did about her own mother passing)? Difficult to say.
The danger in worshipping any mortal being is that we tend to place them too high on the pedestal. Can anyone really measure up to our high expectations? Is is fair to put anyone in a position that they could never hope to live up to? I worshipped my mom. I was devastated when she died. Many things have come to light in the past two years that have lead me to understand that my mom was imperfect. That's okay, I'm not naive enough to think that she should have been. But I really didn't know her well at all. She was a good mom and she loved me to pieces. This I know. But I didn't know she worshipped Princess Diana. I didn't know that she grieved over her death for so long. I didn't know that I had placed that crown on her head so tightly, that it blinded me to who she really was.

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