A legend in life, a moment in death. Such is the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy.
For many of us, this is not just the passing of a man. It is the end of an era, and undoubtedly a new beginning. This was the last survivor of a family that did not so much live out loud as it lived in view. This was a family that knew unimaginable heights, yet suffered unspeakable losses. And now the last is gone.
I don’t have personal recollections of the Senator. Like you, I viewed him from afar. But as I listened to the broadcasts this morning, it came to mind that he had been so many personae to so many people. He was a champion, he was a legend, he was humane. He was also frail, and he was human. He achieved great things, and caused great sorrow. But he also was offered forgiveness, found his way, and touched the lives of millions. In a sense he was different from us while at the same time he was like so many of us.
To the health community, he was a champion. He was a politician to be certain, representing the interests of his constituents with vigor and passion. But he was also known as a conciliator, someone who could reach out for solutions when reaching out was the right thing to do.
For the cancer community, he was a strong advocate. He recently was honored by the American Cancer Society with our Medal of Honor and the National Distinguished Advocacy Award. Not only did he honor our cause with his commitment and his efforts, he knew personally the travesties of the disease. How sad that he lost his life in a battle that has been shared by so many, and for which he had tried to do so much.
There is no question but that his heart was in health care reform. It was a longstanding dream for him, and he was indeed a champion for the hope that we could achieve access to quality care for all. His loss has already been felt, and our prayer is that his legacy will bring reason and honor to the table to accomplish what so many believe is so necessary for the well-being of our country.
Life is to be lived, and passing is inevitable. Our lives don’t follow straight and narrow paths, and who among us has not strayed from that path at some time in our journey?
To be noble is to never forget the errors of our ways, and to seek to do better. We measure our present and our future against where we have been. We must always strive to do more than we can, to be better than we have been.
In this light, we can be thankful for the life of Senator Kennedy.
May God grant his family comfort in his memory in this moment of their loss. May we celebrate the memory of this man for what he has done for the humanity of us all.