Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Kennedy Era

The news about Ted Kennedy is deeply sobering.  My father died of this very cancer in its most heinous variation....glioblastoma.  Dad died 5 months to the day after his diagnosis, WITH radiation treatment that appeared to be shrinking the tumor.  My heart is with the family right now because I know what that diagnosis feels like.  It is hopeless.  I admire all the talk about Ted having the strength to beat it.  I'm sure he'll try, but it is unbeatable.

I was in first grade when John Kennedy was killed.  I was at 4H camp when we got the news about Robert.  I remember the complete disbelief that I felt when I first learned that John Jr. had crashed in his plane.  In a way, that was the most shocking to me as he was of my generation.  He was the heir apparent in "Camelot".  In loosing Ted, I think we will see an end to an era.  I think of the Kennedys in much the same was as the Vanderbilts, or the Carnegies.  They are families that are so much bigger than the rest of us....in power, and wealth, and in what they can accomplish because of it.  But, they fade away and become a part of American lore.  They will always be a larger than life part of our history.

I respect the family and I also pity them.  They have been through incredible tragedy...all played out in the public eye.  They have ALWAYS shown us an example of extreme dignity.  We all know the burden of coping with tragedy and loss, but we have the luxury of privately hiding and licking our wounds.  Families like these will be followed by the media.  The world wants a glimpse of their suffering.  If they don't offer themselves up to the public willingly, the media will hound them for what they want.  It couldn't be easy for Ted's family to have an army of cameras in his hospital room.  Yet, there they were as he and the family showed their "strength" with grace becoming the Kennedy name.  I can imagine Ted's wife and children seething under their breath, "get the hell OUT!"  It's hard enough to put on that face of strength to well meaning acquaintances.  I don't know how one does it for the world at large.

My thoughts will be with them as they face these coming weeks.  Hopefully, they will not have to share with us Ted's experience with radiation and chemotherapy.  Hopefully, they will be left in peace as parts of his mind and personality are stolen from him.  What they have ahead of them is certainly another tragedy.  Hopefully, the love and respect of a nation will help them through. 

3 comments:

mutualaide said...

That is my hope for him as well as the family.  

mlraminiak said...

I didn't realize until just recently that you would have a particularly clear insight into what Senator Kennedy and his family are facing with this diagnosis.  It's hard to pipe up with, "Oh, I know he can beat it...he's a fighter!" when you're pretty sure he can't.  

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.  Lisa  :-]

mutualaide said...

I cannot imagine having to publicily display my diagnosis and then my treatment were I to get this news ... I know that this family will present a public face of dignity and quiet grace when the media pushes their way in.