You do not know me. Our paths are unlikely to intersect any time soon, if ever. And truthfully, I haven't paid much attention to you over the years, living as you have in the humongous shadow of the Kennedys in general and Ted Kennedy in particular.
I’ve seen this photo of you several times over the past day or two. Whoever took it captured one of the most intimate, up-close looks at grief I can remember seeing, ever. And there’ve been a boatload of them in my longish lifetime. Predictably, Jacqueline Kennedy’s face comes to mind, followed by a panoply of others.
And who the heck am I, you ask? Please read on.
Well, I am a sometimes blogger, a self-acknowledged lightweight in the world of political analysis and punditry. I am, however, a heavyweight in the world of grief. Not to be confused with expert. No. Just one vessel among many, filled to capacity with the vestiges of loss. To cancer.
You are blessed beyond measure with incredible support from Teddy’s large and loving family. Even Kennedy critics must snipe in secret awe of the family’s deep and abiding love for all its saints and sinners. Remarkable, really. Unconditional love, writ large, larger, largest. Precious beyond measure.
But you know all of this, or soon will when you’ve had some time to breathe and settle.
My David was as under the radar as Teddy was on it. A quiet, shy, reflective man. He hungered for knowledge and fed the hunger every day. He was acutely aware of his flaws and was, in fact, harder on himself than he ever should have been. He worked assiduously to be, to become, a good man. He longed to be understood. Not many people knew that about him. He was intensely private. And because he was never the least bit self-promoting, because he was soft-spoken and perpetually polite, he was rarely noticed or heard.
Yes, the contrast between your Ted and my David was, is, extreme.
So why do I tell you this? I’m not sure. I guess it serves to underscore the fact that you and I, Ted and David are polar opposites, socially, economically, geographically. Even so, my glimpse over these days at your grief has struck a deep chord. Your eyes, your face speak volumes.
And so it is that I am taking the liberty of telling you that someone in the hustings (likely many someones, actually) are not so much caught up in the aftermath of the death of our sometimes super-hero as in the very personal struggle you now face, in public and when you are alone.
There are reasons large and small, personal and public, for grieving Ted Kennedy. I am sorry for your loss.