Until We Meet Again
by Debra Kozikowski
It’s been widely reported that Senator Edward M. Kennedy had made his peace with dying and was ready to be reunited with his beloved brothers, whose lives were cut short in a series of tragedies no family should have to bear. In a conversation with Vice President Joe Biden earlier this week, Senator Kennedy’s wife of seventeen years, Victoria Reggie Kennedy said, “He was ready to go, Joe, but we were not ready to let him go.”
Kennedy was his family’s rock during hard times, a loving father, attentive son, dear brother to his sisters and their families, a father figure for the children of his slain brothers and joyful uncle to all his neices and nephews. No, he wasn’t perfect. But he touched the lives of many in a positive way. Some were lucky enough to be colleagues and personal friends, but many were ordinary people who had never met the man. They came from far and wide to mourn and were greeted with open hearts and open arms by his closest family.
Today’s Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Roxbury, Massachusetts was understandably not an open public event but the family, sensitive to the public’s grief released the funeral program which included the lyrics to the processional hymn Holy God We Praise Thy Name, readings from The Book of Wisdom, and the Gospel according to Matthew.
A traditional Catholic Mass in celebration of Senator Kennedy’s life incorporated music by cellist Yoyo Ma and tenor Placido Domingo singing the hauntingly beautiful Panis Angelicus (translation: Bread of Angels) as the communion hymn and a classic version of Ave Maria sung by mezzo-soprano Susan Graham. Moving personal remembrances from the senator’s sons included his son Teddy, Jr., who when talking about his father’s legacy and the work yet to do said, “I pray today that we can set aside the sadness and celebrate all that he did.”
Gracious expressions of gratitude to friends, staff and the extended family that encompassed an entire nation from both the senator’s sons preceded the eulogy delivered by President Barack Obama. The president recounted having committed his vote to Senator Kennedy on a piece of legislation but doubted it would garner enough votes to pass. When the bill came up with enough votes to be made law, the senior senator from Massachusetts quipped, “The luck of the Irish.”
Senator Edward Moore Kennedy gave us the gift of his humor, his good work, his legislative brilliance, his frail humanity and his love of all things Irish. We bid him a fond farewell.
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand
Posted on August 29th, 2009 by Debby
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