It is hard to believe it has been 15 years since the tragic death of Princess Diana. I will never forget that night…waiting to hear, daring to hope that she would survive that horrible crash. Praying for her. Frantic for news that took a very long time coming. I wept when I heard she was dead. My heart was broken. I was one of the hoards who had fallen under her spell and who wanted good things for her. I was angry with Prince Charles for not loving her and for carrying on with that dreadful Camille from the very beginning of his marriage to Diana. I was hoping she had finally found someone who would love, cherish and protect her…and appreciate her for who she was. I was hoping for a bright and happy future for her. I certainly didn’t want her life to end in a car crash in a tunnel in Paris just when she was on the cusp of a new life. But end it did. Diana didn’t have a truly easy life, even though it was a privileged one. Her parents divorced and she, her two sisters and her younger brother went to live with her father. She was reportedly a tomboy, not a good student and not an especially intellectual individual. She was rather shy as well. But she believed in love. And she believed she would find her Prince Charming someday, somewhere, somehow. Prince Charles actually dated her older sister first. But eventually he noticed her and she fell deeply in love with him, ignoring many warning signs, such as Camille’s presence during many of their dates. She knew fairly quickly after the ceremony that she has made a mistake. But how do you undo the marriage of the century? The eyes of the world were watching. She wasn’t the only one who wanted a storybook ending. She struggled with depression and bulimia during her years with Prince Charles, never feeling she was good enough in spite of the very privileged life she lived and all the beautiful things (clothes, diamonds, shoes, the best of everything) she had access to. Six years before Diana was born, there was born a little fair-haired girl in America. Her childhood was also far from ideal, though for darker reasons than those that plagued Diana. She was also a tomboy and quite shy, though she was found to be quite intelligent, always making the grades required for the honor roll. This little girl was sexually abused by her father and was physically abused by both parents, as well as neglected, ridiculed, rejected and emotionally abused. But even though her parents never loved or cherished her, she also miraculously believed in love. She believed she would find her Prince Charming someday, somewhere, somehow. She met a man and feel deeply in love with him during her senior year of high school. And because she believed in love, believed he loved her and desperately wanted to escape from the nightmare she called home, she ignored the signs and agreed to marry him two weeks after she graduated from high school. She was only 17, but her parents signed for her so she could marry, even though they told her she was stupid and was making a stupid mistake. And as they drove away from the ceremony, she suddenly knew she had indeed made a gigantic error. Yet because she believed marriage was for life, she knew she would have to live with it and make the best of it she could. He was unfaithful during the honeymoon and two weeks after they said “I do,” he asked her for a divorce. She asked him for some time. He agreed. They stayed together for 3-1/2 years. She did the divorce paperwork herself to save money, only hiring a legal intern to do file the papers as was required by law. Her heart was broken. After that nasty experience, this young woman decided she maybe love wasn’t all it was touted to be. She decided she didn’t want to marry again. But she was lonely. Achingly so. And when she met a man at a Christian street ministry (where she came to know the Lord as her savior), she found herself again falling in love. She fought it. But she felt strongly that God was putting them together and that He would bless their union. So she gave her heart away once more to her new prince charming and at age 25, married once more. The new couple moved back to his home city in NM. They drove separate cars, loaded with their worldly belongings and as they approached Santa Fe, she suddenly knew that she knew that she knew that history was repeating itself. He didn’t love her. She couldn’t believe she had made the same mistake! And this time, as a Christian, she didn’t believe there was any way she could divorce him. She was bound to him, having vowed her life to him before God. She was doomed to be unloved for the rest of her life unless God somehow redeemed the situation and brought love into their empty relationship. Not being loved is a tremendously painful state in which to live. Diana found it to be so, but she didn’t remain faithful to the man who didn’t treasure her. She had multiple affairs in an attempt to fill the emptiness in her soul. The other girl (okay, you’ve figured it out, I’m sure…it was me) was a Christian and she remained faithful, always trusting that someday, somewhere, somehow, her husband would come to love and appreciate her. But as the years went by, the lack of love took a heavy toll. Eventually, she felt totally dead inside. Numb. The rejection made her doubt she had any worth at all…something she had struggled with her whole life because of her childhood. Where Diana got angry and fought back, this other woman grew quiet and withdrawn and discouraged. She still hung on, but only by a thread. It seemed there was nothing about her worth loving. I find it rather eerie that I actually share something with Princess Diana. We came from very different ends of the spectrum, but we both had an eating disorder and we were both in a marriage where we were unloved, not valued, rejected and unappreciated. We responded so differently, but the pain behind our reactions was similar. All we wanted was to be cherished. To be a partner. To live happily ever after with our prince. To find love, someday, somewhere, somehow. Unfortunately, the fairytale ending never happened for Diana. It’s not looking good for me either. And I’m quite sad for both of us.