The week has been about change. The next-to-the-last Kennedy of the Kennedys who impacted my generation died. Their narrative, as sad as it was brilliant, as lost as it was redemptive, was part of my narrative, part of the woof and warp of the tapestry of outside events that impacted my life. Jack Kennedy was the first politician I admired. His was the first assassination I endured. The three brothers and those attached to them were so integral to my generation that we knew them by their first names. There was no question who was meant when Jack or Jackie or Bobby or Teddy or Ethel or John John or Carolyn (those last two another generation, another story) was written or spoken.
Now the nearly last of the most known of the beautiful young things they once were is under the green grass, buried near his brothers in Arlington. The bon vivant turned profound is quiet. The baby turned patriarch is done. Photos shown over and over this last week show the handsome family Joe and Rose Kennedy spawned, those million-dollar smiles flashing out as all of them stand together in their bright and shining youth, promise and potential as radiant, as true as their grins. Those thick heads of hair. The way they all lifted their chins a certain way. They’re so beautiful that you can’t imagine anything ever touching them.
But, of course, it did. And it’s touching them touched me. To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven. Part of my childhood, then my youth, now my maturity, is gone very finally and very completely, under the grass at Arlington. I wonder whose first names my children and their children will know….