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This Is Not About Travel...It's About Teddy Kennedy

Like the rest of the world, I've just learned that Senator Edward Kennedy has been diagnosed with a malignant brain cancer. Shock, sadness, heartbreak...for this man has been to the wall, been through the fire many times and is still standing. No one in my memory has lived through so much tragedy.

Ted and his siblings have changed the face of politics as we know it, and the face of humanity as we experience it.

His older brother, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was an amazing person who opened doors for so many people in his years as a senator and a president. I so clearly remember the exact moment when I heard that he'd been murdered.

I was 18, married and expecting my first child. I'd just made lunch, then put my feet up and was settling down for a little afternoon nap. When I turned on the TV, I saw the news flash across the black and white TV screen...

"As The World Turns” was on, and the day's program was interrupted by a news bulletin. Walter Cronkite said:
“Here is a bulletin from CBS News. In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade in downtown Dallas. The first reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting.”

I was in total shock and disbelief.
President Kennedy?
Someone shot him?
How is that possible?

Then the fatal follow-up news:
“From Dallas, Texas, the flash - apparently official - President Kennedy died at 1:00 p.m. Central standard time, 2 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.”

Something in our lives died that day, along with this man who, with his wife and their young children, had caught our attention and made us watch what was transpiring in the political landscape in the United States.

I remember watching the next few hours and days on TV...scenes of John's younger brother, Robert, accompanying his widowed sister-in-law and his brother's casket back to Washington. I cried as I sat stunned, seeing Edward, the youngest child in the Kennedy family, walking with his other brother, Robert and his sister-in-law, Jackie. I remember that he looked like he had been struck dumb, like he was going through the motions...he'd just lost his big brother, in the cruelest kind of way.

Wednesday, 5 June 1968...I was sitting in the dining room, visiting with a girlfriend and we saw the news on TV, this time in colour, announcing that Senator Robert Kennedy had been shot while campaigning for the Democratic nomination for President.

Sooner than we could imagine, the news came that Senator Kennedy had died from his wounds.

Another state funeral, another brother who had been murdered, long before his natural time to die.
Another image of Teddy Kennedy grieving another heartrending loss.
An image of Teddy giving the eulogy for his older brother, Robert.

Today, hearing the news that Ted Kennedy has a malignant brain tumour, my mind flashed back to all of the collective images in my memory of his loses...John, Robert, Jackie, his dear nephew, John Jr., his mother, Rose, his father, Joseph, and so many more.

I wonder if the cancer growing in his brain might consist of a culmination of all of the energy and pain from the horrors and gut-wrenching sorrows he's had to deal with in his life.
Who knows?
Who knows.

God speed, Teddy.
God bless you and keep you real good, now...y'hear?

“The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.”
~ Edward Kennedy

Comments (3)

Being from Massachusetts, I grew up with the Kennedys. They have suffered so much tragedy over the years and Teddy has always been there to hold the family together. Besides his immediate family, my thoughts went to Caroline. I guess we all have to be hopeful. He is definitely a fighter and one not to give up easily.

Hi, girasole,
It's such a heart break...it seems that every time I turn around, there is another enormous tragedy in the family.
John Jr.'s death literally knocked me off my feet...I had to sit down and breathe. I simply could not comprehend the enormity of that loss to Caroline and to Ted. All I could think about was how glad I was that Jackie had already passed, because I could not imagine her loss of her beloved son. She was an amazing mom and did a fantastic job with raising those kids.

Almost all of them are together again on the other side, walking the beaches and picking up a quick game of football, before going out for a sail on the water. Bet they have a lot to talk about now!
An amazing family with all of their perfections and imperfections...I admire them greatly and my heart hurts for them so much, right now.

Brenda, that is such a beautiful post. I too got such a heart pang when I heard this on the news last night. When I was in high school, we went on a study trip to DC and I'll never forget seeing Teddy walk into the Senate chamber (we were upstairs watching the action). I second your "godspeed."

Hi, Anne,
Thank you for your kind words. I know they are just people, but I also believe that some of us come into this world with a higher level of soul development than others, and when we see those people, like Ted, they often appear to have a special aura around them that separates them from the ordinary.
The weight of tragedy around this family is incomprehensible for me...I stand in awe.

Hi Brenda, since you're in Europe, you might not have seen this on the news. Ted Kennedy made a surprise return to the Senate yesterday - when he walked in, everyone went crazy and gave him a 2-minute long standing ovation. It was so moving - I got all choked up when I saw it on the news!

I'm enjoying the vicarious travel with you. Cheers! Annie

How beautiful that they paid tribute to him like that!
Usually, that kind of congratulations and good wishes comes after someone passes and that's way too late!
Thanks for letting me know...this means a lot to him, I'm sure.
Ciao ciao,

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