If I should die before the rest of you,
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone.
Nor, when I'm gone, speak in a Sunday voice,
But be the usual selves that I have known.
Weep if you must,
Parting is hell.
But life goes on,
So........ sing as well.
This is what we were doing the day Princess Diana died, twenty years ago today. Staying with friends in Cambridgeshire for the weekend, we wanted to make the most of the good weather and go out for the day. I recall coming down to find the youngest son of the house on the settee reading (I think Harry Potter) with the TV on in the background, and totally oblivious to what the newsreader was saying.
After the initial shock (and breakfast), we went off to a huge 'car boot’ sale/fair and (probably) had a pub lunch. I recall we bought a glass-fronted bookcase that saw service in several homes, including our daughter's student lodgings and first (and possibly subsequent) flat. My friendnand I bought very nice blue check shirts for 50 pence each (Mark and Spencers seconds I think)- mine lasted for years.
These pictures were taken somewhere picturesque. I don’t think any of us suffered any trauma or sense of personal loss, any more than when any other celebrity dies (if you exclude Freddie Mercury, which I still haven’t got over).
After that came the surprising reactions of the crowds who had gathered to watch the funeral procession; and so began an extraordinary period of public sentimentality and a kind of mass hysteria. This eventually faded and things returned to some sort of normality. Unfortunately the legacy is that all too often we still see similar mawkish displays of ‘emotion’ over reported deaths, whether the deceased is known to us or not.
When a stranger dies it is of course a sad event for family and friends, but doesn’t require any further comment from us. No need for the ‘R.I.P.s on Facebook, and the ‘our thoughts are with the family and friends etc’ - are they? Really? Time for the stiff upper lip again perhaps. Car Boot Sale anyone?
Linking to Sepia Saturday with memories and photos of the past.