Aug 31, 2013

Sixteen Years Ago

This weekend I am going to the office to get all my personal belongings, clean out my work area, in preparation for my last day at work a few weeks from now. 

The picture below has been with me at every desk, office, or cube I've sat in since mid 1997. This picture means so much to me and for so many reasons. 

I am walking with my DAD, Rogelio A. Arosemena, into the Coronado Hotel in 

Coronado Hotel Entrance, Coronado Beach, Panama 

Panama at Coronado Beach, about 1 hour outside of the city.  I am 39 years old and I am holding my DAD's hand. He was such an amazing DAD. This was 2 years after his initial bout with cancer, this was also his 2nd year in Panama after he retired from his first love in life, being the best General Surgeon ever.  

We went to Coronado Beach for the weekend and visited with Dr. Correa and his wife, Lili, and also went to El Valle and had lunch with the De Alba Family, Dr. De Alba, his wife, Tia Laura and their daughter, Eugenia.   My brother, Roger and my niece, JoAnn, who was then 6 years old were also there with us that weekend.  

I love that we are both in our casual vacation clothes, my DAD rarely wore jeans and even more rare, a baseball cap.  In the picture we were both in stride, determined, my DAD  always walked fast.  I love the colors, blue, white and all the green from the healthy ferns.  Panama holds so very many dear memories for me and my family. I still have the baseball cap my DAD wore that day.   

The same day this picture was taken, was the day Diana, Princess of Wales was killed in that terrible tragic accident in Paris France, in the Pont del' Alma bridge tunnel.  She was 36 years old.  I remember the news coming over the radio in the car. At the hotel the news was carried on CNN and we were like the rest of the world, shock and saddened by the tragedy. The news and the reaction of of everyone, a veil of sadness and disbelief that lasted for days.  

I was still in Panama the day of the funeral, September 6th. I woke up at  5am with my niece, JoAnn, we watched on a big screen TV my DAD had in his new house. I still remember today that JoAnn recognized Elton John.   Not sure how she knew him, but when he sat at the piano and performed the modified version of Candle in the Wind, JoAnn knew that was Elton John singing. 

A few years ago there was an exhibit of Princess Diana dresses in Atlanta that traveled all over the world. I am not a huge fan of fashion, but I was drawn to her memory and went to the Atlanta Civic Center to see what was on display.  

Diana's Signature 

I don't recall that this detail was advertised, as you exited the area where the dresses were on display you were able to walk by and see huge bookshelves that were behind glass that had the collection of condolence books that were sent to England from all over the world.  It was fascinating, the books, most of them bound in beautiful leather, some countries had 6, 7, 8 books, some were from small towns in America, Europe and Africa. Some were opened, you could see notes, letters, it was emotional. 

There was also a collection of some of Diana's personal belongings and there was a small prayer book, leather bound, the size of small notepad that was a gift from Mother Teresa to Princess Diana. 

The book was opened to the page where Mother Teresa had written an inscription in what appeared to be pencil or very fine ink. The message written from Mother Teresa to Diana, was about loving Jesus.  If you click on this link you can see the prayer book, the video quality is not the best, but you can see the handwriting, you can see the power, you can see the love.  Prayer Book Video

Mother Teresa died in India on September 5th, the day before Diana's funeral. She was 87 years old.  

Mother Teresa and Diana, Princess of Wales