From A Second Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul

I Did My Best

To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is not to die.

Thomas Campbell

[EDITORS’ NOTE: Princess Diana was loved around the world for her humanitarian and compassionate work. Her easy rapport with people in need and her warm, understanding heart touched millions of lives. Here she describes the incident that turned the attention of the world to the cause of AIDS.]

I had always wanted to hug people in hospital beds. A visit to an AIDS hospice in 1991, with Mrs. Bush, was a stepping stone for me. This particular man, who was so ill, started crying when I sat on his bed, and he held my hand, and I thought Diana, do it, just do it, and I gave him an enormous hug. It was just so touching because he clung to me and he cried. I thought, Wonderful!

On the other side of the room, a very young man, who I can only describe as beautiful, lying in his bed, told me he was going to die about Christmas. His friend, a man sitting in a chair by his bed, was crying his eyes out. “Why not me?” he said. I put my hand out to him and said: “It’s not supposed to be easy, all this. Isn’t it extraordinary, wherever I go, it’s always those like you, sitting in a chair, who have to go through such hell, whereas those who accept they are going to die are calm?”

He said: “I didn’t know that happened.”

And I said: “Well, it does; you’re not the only one. It’s wonderful that you’re actually by his bed. You’ll learn so much from watching your friend.”

He was crying and clung on to my hand, and I felt so comfortable in there. I just hated being taken away.

When I go into the Palace for a garden party or summit meeting dinner, I am a very different person. I conform to what’s expected of me; but when I come to the hospice, I know when I turn my light off at night, I did my best.

Diana, Princess of Wales

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