Thursday, August 27, 2009

Preparation, not fear

He fought, but he knew when the fight was over, and those who were with him saw hope, not fear. "The truth is, he had expressed to his family that he did want to go," said Father Patrick Tarrant of Our Lady of Victory Church, who was at Kennedy's bedside.
-TIME, August 26, 2009

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- by Sara Bard Field

To drop our leaves of sense;
Sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell,
Before death's imminence
Is wise—is gently well.
Leaf thirst for sun, rain, sap, and air is deep;
Bare branches only ask for sleep.

photo collage via tinypic


Maggie May said...

i think 'preparation, not fear' is one of the best things i've read in a while. i'm going to keep that phrase, thank you.

Sage Ravenwood said...

Touching tribute dear friend. Thank you for sharing. (Hugs)Indigo

kj said...

oh lydia....

my father died in this way: at home, his family around him, breathing peacefully. his last act was to lift his arms up straight up in the air when i whispered to him, "dad, jessica (my daughter) needs to know that you love her"

i am on cape cod this weekend and the tribute in hyannis will be felt around the world.

good to get to know you, lydia


secretfragileskies said...

Speechless. Beautiful post, Lydia. We will miss him.

goatman said...

I must save this poem. Tree as metaphor for life; leaves gone, senses gone, life gone. Entering into winter perhaps to be reborn in spring?

Erin Davis said...

The work begins anew, the hope rises again, and the dream lives on. Suaimhneas síoraí, Senator.

Nancy said...

Wow. That poem is so beautiful. Great post.

Rhiannon said...

I love trees of the ages..and poems about them. Fall is coming and so it's time for some leaves of life to "fall" and be reborn, once again.

Thanks for this nice post Lydia. I watched a PBS show all about the Kennedy brothers last was very very good. Old black and white film clips..and watching Robert Kennedy talking to and helping the poor..and how he reacted to them...brought tears to my eyes. As Robert watched a malnourished young black boy he tried to get the boy laying there to react and talk to him or touch him...but the boy was too weak to do this..and the look in Robert Kennedy's face, I cannot even begin to explain that look of grief, heartbreak and so wanting to do something to help the heart swelled and tears came to my eyes..

I'm sorry so much suffering in this makes me so sad...and I just wish more people would reach out and help their fellow human beings..instead of just looking on...what a difference it would make in this world if we stopped becoming so "comfortably numb".


Lydia said...

@Maggie May- Thank you for telling me that. :)

@Indigo- Wasn't he someone for whom you wish the best tributes..... I think we'll see many in the days to come and through his funeral Saturday.

@kj- I read your stirring comment earlier in the day and have thought about it through the hours. Your father gave you all such a wonderful gift with the raising of his arms in response to your daughter's need. How touching.
You are on Cape Cod during such an historic time. Soak it up for the rest of us. xo and great getting to know you too!

@secret, fragile skies- We won't forget him. Thanks much for your comments and for becoming a follower...means a lot to me.

@goatman- Welcome here! Your reaction to the poem is somewhat like mine. I want to keep it, hopefully commit it to memory, as a part of my own preparation not fear way in the future.

@Erin- The translation I found for "Suaimhneas síoraí" was "eternal rest for the soul,"...which is probably close and so very lovely. Thank you for adding it to this post.

@Nancy- Thanks much, and I loved the poem too.

@Rhi- I saw a man on the news who was standing in line to view Kennedy's casket, who said his wife sent a letter to the senator and received a 10-page, hand-written and signed letter in return. He probably would respond to your beautiful sentiments similarly, if he could. Thank you for your memories and thoughts.

Anonymous said...

What a nice poem! Thanks for sharing Aunt.

Erika C. said...

Oh, yes! I read about Kennedy's death in the paper yesterday with tears streaming down my face. I couldn't help it. My son (7) came and sat in my lap, seeing that I needed comfort. My daughter (10) read along with me.

It stimulated a good talk with the two of them about all sorts of powerful stuff, death, family, politics, the two party system of our country. I tried to talk to them about the different parties in such a way that they could be open and make their own decisions.

But Kennedy was such a wonderful and inspiring man. I could just see from reading in the paper what his last days were like. I am glad he had that time with family at the end. Time that his brothers never had.


Darlene said...

I love the poem. Death is often welcome when you can no longer enjoy life.

My husband died from malignant brain tumorsn as did Ted. My husband welcomed the end to his suffering as I am sure Ted did.

Lisa Nanette Allender said...

Hi Lydia--
I just read a wonderful account from TIME magazine("The Mysteries of Chappaquidick", written shortly after the Chappaquidick tragedy.
It fleshed-out the answers to a lot of things, and it was touching...and almost funny, really, to see how the writer questioned(in 1969) whether Ted Kennedy would "remain" a Senator, and how the future would unfold for him, after his brain concussion, and shock took the tragic toll they did on him, and his inability (he was wearing a very heavy back brace when the accident occured)to save Ms. Kopechne.
I think we were blessed to have him as long as we did.
My heart goes out to everyone affected by Senator Ted Kennedy.
He was a deeply conflicted, and deeply caring man.
Peace to you, Lydia.

Looking to the Stars said...

Beautiful post, kiddo

Mariana Soffer said...

Very nice text, and a great philosophy of looking at death in itself, I always think that worrying is nonsense, it acomplieshes nothing and just makes you feel worst, but preparing for things does make sense because when it comes you are ready to face it.
Besides I do belive that death does not necesarily need to be a very sad event, it can be taken with joy by celebrating the good things that happen in life, the things that could be enjoyed.

Lydia said...

@Riyadh- My pleasure to share the poem. I wonder if Bangladesh has a family who has meant a lot to the country the way the Kennedys have to the U.S....

@Erika- What a joy to read about your son's and daughter's comfort in your moment of sorrow! They sound like special kids, most definitely. I so appreciate how you used the moment to share history, to broaden their views. You sound like a special mom, most definitely!

@Darlene- O, that is so sad about your husband. This time of Ted Kennedy's illness and death must have affected you even more deeply than most of us. Wish I could hand you a flower.....

@Lisa- Your thoughts and comments here added a deep touch to the sense of loss we all feel. That last line especially is truly beautiful. Peace to you, too.

@Looking to the Stars- :) xo

@Mariana- As I respond to comments here I have CSpan on TV as it rebroadcasts Friday's memorial service for Sen. Kennedy. It is much of what you described, a celebration of the good things from his life. Very touching and appropriate!

Anonymous said...


Actually it always has been out two families. "Zia" Family & "Mujib" Family. Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman is called the "Father of our Nation". He declared freedom of Bangladesh on 26th March 1971. And we achieved it on 16 December of the same year. Zia-ur-Rahman has a lot of contribution in the liberation and development of our Country. Both of these great two persons have died long ago. Now there are two major political party in Bangladesh. One is Awami League which is led by Sheikh Hasina, daughter of Sheikh Mujib and another one is BNP which is led by Khaleda Zia, wife of Zia-ur-Rahman. But it is matter of regret that both the parties are badly corrupted and always busy in blaming each other...! So... the honor could go to those two families... but they wasted it...!
But those two particular persons will always be in Bangali's (Bangladeshi's) heart.

Ben said...

I liked this one a lot. Agreed, preparation is better than fear. Powerful quote at the beginning.

Lydia said...

@Riyadh- Please forgive me! It is months after you posted your informational comments, and I just realized I never replied. (You've probably forgotten all about this post by now...!) Thank you for explaining about the Zia and the Mujib families. It's interesting to learn more about the current politics of your country also. :)

@Ben- It's strange to revisit this post on the very day when the election to Kennedy's Senate seat has been decided.
And I do love that poem so much!



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