Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Raise Him Up

In prayer. And all his family with him.

The news today that Ted Kennedy has a malignant inoperable brain tumor was sobering.

I, like many in my generation, mark my personal time line by certain events involving the Kennedy family. John and Robert's assassinations and their funerals. John John's (he will always be John John to me) plane crashing into the ocean. Ted's run for the presidency. Maria Shriver's wedding.

I remember the week of the JFK assassination with the most vividness in both visual and emotional memory for it was one of the few times I witnessed my mother weeping. I had just turned six. She was sitting at her sewing machine working on an outfit and listening to the radio. When I noticed her tears and stood by her, patting her knee she explained to me that someone had just shot our president. At that time, living in a home with no TV and having never been to the movies, I did not understand 'shot' and really had an inaccurate concept of 'our president'. I imagined it must be a relative like a cousin or uncle.

In a sense, maybe my child mind was not so far off the mark. The Kennedy family has been America's family since John John and Caroline graced the White House with their laughter and tears in the sixties.

The news of Teddy Kennedy's diagnosis is especially poignant for me coming as it does two days before my Daddy's birthday--the third one we will celebrate without him. Less than two months before he died he had a small brain tumor pressing on his optic nerve removed. One of many tumors that metastasized through out his body from the original colon cancer he had fought for nearly two years. They removed the brain tumor not to save his life but to preserve his vision for his final months.

Of all the many things Ted Kennedy accomplished in his years in office, the one our family is the most grateful for is his advocating for the Americans With Disabilities Act.

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