Friday, September 04, 2009

Ted Kennedy Jnr’s Father Taught Him that Nothing is Impossible

At last week’s funeral for Senator Edward Kennedy, his son gave a very moving tribute.

He commenced his statement this way:

“My name is Ted Kennedy Jr., a name I share with my son, a name I share with my father. Although it hasn't been easy at times to live with this name, I've never been more proud of it than I am today.”

He shared this story:

“But today I'm simply compelled to remember Ted Kennedy as my father and my best friend.”

“When I was 12 years old I was diagnosed with bone cancer and a few months after I lost my leg, there was a heavy snowfall over my childhood home outside of Washington D.C. My father went to the garage to get the old Flexible Flyer and asked me if I wanted to go sledding down the steep driveway. And I was trying to get used to my new artificial leg and the hill was covered with ice and snow and it wasn't easy for me to walk. And the hill was very slick and as I struggled to walk, I slipped and I fell on the ice and I started to cry and I said ‘I can't do this.’ I said, ‘I'll never be able to climb that hill.’ And he lifted me in his strong, gentle arms and said something I'll never forget. He said ‘I know you'll do it, there is nothing you can't do. We're going to climb that hill together, even if it takes us all day.’”

“Sure enough, he held me around my waist and we slowly made it to the top, and, you know, at age 12 losing a leg pretty much seems like the end of the world, but as I climbed onto his back and we flew down the hill that day I knew he was right. I knew I was going to be OK. You see, my father taught me that even our most profound losses are survivable and it is what we do with that loss, our ability to transform it into a positive event, that is one of my father's greatest lessons. He taught me that nothing is impossible."

Ted Kennedy Jr Remembers His Father, Full Script, Boston.Com, 29 August 2009.

Related Ted Kennedy Stories
Ted Kennedy: We Carry On, SFS, 1 September 2009.

Ted Kennedy Legislating with Principle, Mutuality and the Luck of the Irish, SFS, 1 September 2009.

Ted Kennedy Remembered Most for His Giving Heart, SFS, 1 September 2009.

Text of Obama’s Eulogy at Kennedy’s Funeral Mass, Associated Press, 30 August 2009.

On Related Sites
Freej: The Bright Star in the UAE Film Firmament, Experiencing the Emirates, 4 September 2009.

Coming Second or Losing in the America’s Cup, America’s Cup in the UAE, 4 September 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

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Image: Ted Kennedy Jnr. delivering a eulogy for his father (Photo courtesy of C J Gunther, Getty Images and Boston.Com at the link above).