Sorry for those of you who got this in a letter version...I'm still trying to figure out how to minimize redundancies!
Assumptions were made. A heart was broken. And Pavarotti was to blame.
But first let’s talk about Pavarotti. My grandma loved him. All things were dropped if he was going to be on PBS and the Three Tenors was a commonly seen cover floating around her 1970’s 8 track stereo.
I was twenty-two and I had been traveling throughout Europe after college graduation. This was before the common use of international cell phones, so I would have to call home from a payphone from time to time to let my family know where I was. They were abbreviated conversations and I didn’t get to talk to my grandma much while I was away. So by the end of August 1997, I was ready to come home, look for a promising career and most importantly…..visit my grandma.
Once I finally landed at home I found that Princess Diana had died hours after my plane’s wheels lifted off from Charles De Gaulle. I was very sad to learn of a young life that was cut short and the heavy feeling knowing she had left two beautiful boys that needed her desperately.
I got up early the next day to drive an hour south to visit my grandma. I expected her to be in her usual green chair waiting for me to arrive. Instead, I saw her sitting in front of her huge TV screen, two feet away with the volume at the maximum level. She was nearly blind and very hard of hearing and in this case, didn’t want to miss a word of the news coverage.
I walked up to her and planted a big kiss on her sweet, rouge covered cheek to find her heartbroken over Princess Di’s tragic death.
“I haven’t slept all night, I’ve been watching the news on the accident…I just can’t believe it!”
I hugged her and tried to console her, but she was utterly distraught.
”But I’m just so confused…”
I rubbed her shoulder as I said, “Grandma, it’s terrible…I know, and very unexpected.”
She cried out, “But what was he doing chasing her? What was he doing on the back of a motorcycle? He loved her, why would he do this to her? He must have gone crazy. I will never understand this.” She continued to stand there, shaking her head.
Now I was confused…
I asked, “Grandma, who do you think was chasing her?”
She quickly exclaimed, “Pavarotti! The news has been saying that Pavarotti was chasing Diana on the back of a motorcycle and he CAUSED the accident.” Her voice got higher, “ I mean what was he doing on the back of a motorcycle? He has no business being on a motorcycle…and in the middle of the night…chasing Princess Di?”
She was nearly hysterical.
An assumption was made. A heart was broken (and very confused).
Alas… it was the paparazzi chasing the car..not her beloved Pavarotti.
I explained the misunderstanding and you could instantly see the relief melt over her whole being. Her visions and judgement of Pavarotti chasing down the princess while on a motorcycle were gone, vanished.
This story reminds me of all of us. How often we make assumptions about people or a situation and our mind takes off in a million different directions. We think about future scenarios, play out the past….all because assumptions were made.
Think of someone you are angry or disappointed with….might you find a possible assumption you have made that may not be 100% the truth? Let them off the hook, but most important—let yourself off the hook and stop believing painful stories that may not even be true.
I can think of a few I can release as I’m writing these words…..
We will all be freer and lighter, I promise!
P.S. Sorry! I can’t sign off just yet until I have said a few words about my Grandma Harriette. She sparkled and literally hummed with love. I am the luckiest girl that I got to call her mine…and that she passed her love of Pavarotti onto me.
However, my kids would beg to differ on the last one:)