08/26/2009 03:41 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

No Time for Mourning -- In Memoriam: Ted Kennedy

There are giants who walk among ordinary men. Edward (Teddy) Kennedy was one such giant. And, he would be the first to remind us of something his brother Jack once said: "A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on."

The senator from Massachusetts might also say that this is no time for mourning, but for celebration of a life well-lived and of the work that must go on in his name. And, there is a lot of work to do.

It is he who carried on his brother, JFK's, legacy and fought for the least among us, the disenfranchised, those whose voice was often drowned out by the drone of the corporate machine, and he strove harder than ever to realize President Kennedy's adage "If a society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."

Profound sadness is not a fleeting thing, it is something that leaves a gaping hole in the heart of a nation. A life cut short, a life unfulfilled, a dream unrealized is one that is endlessly eulogized, but Teddy Kennedy is one who needs no endless eulogies. He was blessed in having made his life one that was filled not merely with courage, but purpose; one not scarred by contempt or anger, but enriched by compassion. He was a man who sought to discard darkness by embracing the light that comes only from diversity.

This is no time for mourning, but for the celebration of a life well-lived, one who knew what his destiny was, and followed it.

The work goes on, not in the absence of a giant, but in the presence of a man who recognized that, in striving, humanity must surpass itself to be inclusive, not exclusive, to encompass those who frequent yacht clubs, as well as those who stand on line at food banks at Thanksgiving.

So, in the end, this is a time to celebrate the life of one who made history stand up and take notice. One who was tolerant enough to listen to friends and adversaries alike, and not take the easy road by hiding behind party lines.

Like his brother Jack, Teddy Kennedy was "an idealist without illusions." He knew his days were numbered, a lesson he learned from the loss at age 31 of his brother, and our former president. He knew every day counts, and would want us not to waste one single day, but put our collective shoulder to the wheel, and continue the work to make this world an infinitely better world than we found it in his name.

He will be missed. He is already missed, but as he himself said "the dream lives on."