Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The American Liberal Lion
I was born in Massachusetts where the Kennedy family reigned in state politics and in the government as well as in our hearts.
I have a very clear memory of the the wall in my grandmother's kitchen, right over the table, where pictures of her "Holy Trinity" were hung: Jesus in the middle, Jack
Kennedy on the left and Bobby Kennedy on the right.
On the Anniversary of their birthdays and deaths, the same white votive candle was lit for them as the one for Jesus on Christmas and Easter.
They were "our" family. Our "Massachusetts Royalty."
But, they also had a daughter who was, as they said at the time, "mentally retarded," and another who was "mentally ill," but that only endeared them even more to our hearts.
Yes, they sometimes behaved like scoundrels - marital affairs, running with the fast West Coast Hollywood crowd, alcohol abuse, that car accident in Chappaquidic, and (oh, say it ain't so) divorce.
Even so, their lives embodied the Great American Dream which so many immigrant families hoped to attain. That they were not immune to human foibles only made our success seem possible.
As you no doubt know by now, Ted Kennedy has been diagnosed with a glioma - a particularly pernicious form of brain tumor. I can't tell you how desperately sad I felt at the news.
I don't know if you have seen the news clip of the moment the announcement was made on the floor of the Senate. Senator Byrd of Virgina broke down and wept. "Ted! Oh, Teddy!"
I confess, I did the same. And, she'll hate it that I'm saying this, but so did Ms. Conroy.
Maybe you'd have to be from Massachusetts to understand.
Please join your prayers with ours for Ted, The American Liberal Lion, and for his family. May God grant him strength and courage in the days and months ahead, and heal him, body, mind and spirit.