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"I Have Lived a Blessed Time" - Senator Ted Kennedy

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A Personal Note From Carolyn: This is a raw, unfiltered post.

[image via NY Times]

Senator Ted Kennedy has passed away after battling a horrific form of brain cancer. I heard the announcement just minutes ago as I was shutting down my computer to go to sleep, and I knew I had to write something. Yet I stared at the screen with that all too familiar feeling of horrific loss and uncertainty. My hands were trembling as I began to type. This is not just another headline, this is reality, and for the past 10 years (ages 14 to 24), I have faced the loss of young children and young adults after their own battles with cancer. Many of these individuals were very close to me.

Over the past two days, I have been talking about hope and perseverance in interviews about Perseverance. These interviews represent the first time I have been asked publicly about the most raw and personal aspects of my life, and it has taken every ounce of strength I have to respond to questions that probe into moments that I would prefer never to relive. The only way to get through these questions was to apply an emotional Band-aid. But when I heard about Senator Ted Kennedy passing away from brain cancer, that bandage was ripped off quickly.

We all watched as Senator Kennedy battled, with great dignity and strength, one of the most horrible forms of brain cancer. While enduring debilitating treatments, he was still seen with a smile or his now famous thumbs up. He was giving us hope, hope that even though he had something as horrible as cancer, he would live each and every day to the fullest. He was not going to let cancer take him down, and he never did. He is a warrior in every sense of the word.

While I never knew Senator Kennedy personally, our lives intertwined in many ways, which makes this news particularly difficult for me to digest.

The New York Times writes:

In December [2008], Harvard granted Mr. Kennedy a special honorary degree. He referred to Mr. Obama's election as "not just a culmination, but a new beginning."

He then spoke of his own life, and perhaps his legacy.

"We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make," he said. "I have lived a blessed time."

Truly reflect upon that statement:
"I have lived a blessed time."

The news coverage will end soon enough, and the headlines will be replaced by the next story. But the lives of individuals who have made an impact upon us, famous or not, are never just removed from memory.

Indeed, this situation represents a new beginning. The news has broken, and now, like any tragic loss, we must begin to move forward. Each day, we'll place one foot in front of the other. But today, it's our responsibility to turn what we have learned from Senator Kennedy into real action, deeds that will create a beautiful ripple effect of inspiration.

A Profound Statement from the Kennedy Family:
"We've lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever."

Nothing can change the past - we only have right now.

No words can minimize the pain felt by the Kennedy family. Nevertheless, we must remain supportive and embody the positive perspective that Senator Kennedy taught us is so very necessary in times of great struggle.

Take care of yourself during this time. Clearly, we all have emotional wounds that may become exposed as a result. Remain proactive.

Never Forget The Importance of Today.

Faith. Optimism. Perseverance.

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