This is NOT a political piece – rather it’s about an “era”…the passing of a generation that I have been a part of. John Kennedy was the first President of the Untied States I voted for. That in itself always makes me feel good and gives me pride. I was just married, poor as a mouse, and didn’t have a clue about anything. Yet, as I watched the campaign between Kennedy and Nixon develop, my inner instincts told me I was watching, and was a part of the beginning of history. John & Jackie were something new…. youth, energy, enthusiasm for new ideas, money, love for their country and each other…..Camelot indeed.
Five years later, we had moved out of state and was still trying to survive. I had gotten a job at the local radio station and hired a baby sitter to stay with the girls at home. Between driving home from work and walking into the house 20 minutes later, the baby sitter informed me as I came in the door that lil’ bro Bobby had been killed.
Through the years, we seen more….the beginning of the special Olympics by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Ted gaining his seat in Senate and escaping near death in a plane crash like that which had taken the lives of two of his older siblings. Ted’s wild partying leading to the death of his female passenger. His son Joseph losing his leg to cancer, his daughter battling lung cancer, nephew David, Bobby’s son dying of a drug overdose, Another son of Ted’s going thru cocaine addiction and rehab. Another son of Bobby’s being killed in a ski accident, the loss of both of his parents, a divorce… his sisters, sister in laws, his wife & children, nieces and nephews, and half the country leaning on him for everything. His sister Eunice’s death… And now Ted…. Dead at age 77 from brain cancer.
He was a brother, son, father, 2nd father, uncle, and confidant to all of them. Both a disappointment and a hero to millions… To describe him in one word I would have to use “Fighter”. He fought for himself, for his family, and for us, and for so much more.
I remember seeing a an interview one time that explained how their Dad (Joe) used to set at the head of the dinner table and quiz the kids on world affairs… Service to their country and others was taught from a very young age. Their Mother (Rose) was the one to instill religion and biblical teaching. They were expected to follow both regimes in their lives.
Every family I know has had tragedies through their lives, but I’ve never known a family that has had so many as the Kennedys…. Yet they have usually handled them with grace and dignity.
How have they lived thru so many heartbreaks…what do they know that we don’t? I’m not sure I have the answer, only that it happens to the best of us, and the Kennedys have set an example for us all to follow. When you think your world is crashing around your feet, and your heart is broken, and you think you can’t live thru the pain…. You will. Until God comes up with another plan, you have no choice, so you just have to straighten your shoulders, take a deep breath, count the blessings you have left and carry on. Others have done it, so can you. you just have to do it, Ted Kennedy has shown us, there is no choice.