Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ted Kennedy, Living

Caroline Kennedy hugs her uncle, Ted Kennedy,
after both spoke at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

I saw a Globe newsbox promo on this series recently, and said to myself, "They're starting the wake a little early."

Several of my colleagues and I were kinda glad that he went to MGH, then Duke, for his surgery. Not that we didn't want to care for him - we very much did. It would have been a privilege. But a VIP's entourage can be a real pain in the ass.

Yeah, he's gonna die at some point. He'll be gone, and nobody will ever fill the shoes he's gonna leave behind. Not another Kennedy, anyway.

But when he does die, I hope it's down in Hyannisport, with fine weather and a soft breeze off the ocean.

I hope the house is filled with a lifetime's worth of family and friends, drifting between the downstairs rooms and the big porch and onto the soft green lawn and into the driveway made from crushed clam and oyster shells crunching underfoot, all quiet and tearful, not from grief but from honor and respect and an appreciation of what they know is going to happen no matter how much they don't want it to.

I hope that the people who know and love him as father, husband, uncle, dearest friend surround him in his final hours and minutes, right to the very end, and that his death is as quiet and peaceful as a gentle exhalation, because surely he's earned at least that.

When Ted Kennedy dies, I'm going to take a moment to silently thank him for his humanity.

After that, as soon as I can, I'm going to pour myself a generous swallow of Tullamore Dew, and a pint glass of Harp or Guiness, or maybe half of each, to toast a life lived as fully as can ever be.

And then, life will go on. Not quite the same, of course. But it will go on.

Until that time, here's a toast to Ted Kennedy, living.

Thanks to mem from somerville for her diary at DailyKos that got me started on this thought.

Updated 2/21/09 by adding the last sentence, because he's not dead.