Yesterday morning, I was rushing out of the house to go to work. I put the outgoing mail in the mailbox, stuffed my notebook PC and purse in the car, strapped my son in the car seat and grabbed the paper off the driveway to toss into the front seat. I caught a glimpse of the headline, and much to my surprise, began crying. "Ted Kennedy Dies."
Given the brain cancer he was battling and his absence from public view during the recent debate on the issue dearest to his heart, health care, we all could surmise the end was near. Somehow, the event itself is still a devastating blow.
I had to analyze why I was actually moved to tears by the death. Not that I was surprised I was sad, just how sad.
Is it the passing of the Kennedy era? Ted Kennedy is the last of three brothers who changed our country. Eunice Kennedy Shriver, their sister and the founder of the Special Olympics, recently passed away as well. Hearing the tributes to her was a reminder of how much this family of great privilege valued public service and giving back to the community. It is a family that has seen great glory but also great tragedy.
Is it the fact that Teddy won't be able to vote on health care reform, an issue he has been working on for decades? I was hoping he would be able to be that deciding vote, swooping in to be the hero and save the day.
Is it that the Democratic party has now lost one of its strongest leaders at a time when they appear so weak and divided over the health care debate?
I think it is all of the above, a mourning of the past, a frustration over the present, and a fear for the future. Ultimately, it is the the loss of a person we all felt we knew so well from a terrible disease. My heart goes out to his family at this time, because to them he is their beloved father, husband, uncle. And that is what makes it so very sad.
And here comes the tears again! What is up with that?