In Ted Kennedy Jr.’s eulogy for his father, he described his dad’s response as he struggled to climb an icy sledding hill. He was crying that he would never be able to climb that hill with his new artificial leg. His father told him, “I know you’ll do it. There’s nothing you can’t do. We’re going to climb it together, even if it takes us all day.”
Ted, Jr. also spoke of how his father taught him he could learn from life’s difficulties. “My father taught me that even our most profound losses are survivable and it is what we do with that loss, our ability to transform it into a positive event.”
Who doesn’t know about Teddy Kennedy’s personal losses and his moments of personal and public disgrace? But did you realize how much he personally knew what chronic illness could do to a person? One son had childhood cancer, another severe childhood asthma/allergies and his daughter had lung cancer as an adult. And in his last years, Teddy faced cancer and all of the ravaging effects of the surgeries and medicine.
This man, born to wealth and privilege, took from this set of experiences that every person in the United States should be able to get the kind of medical care he could give his family.
And Ted, Jr. spoke of another lesson he learned from his father. When Ted asked why they were always the last ones to leave the water each evening while practicing for sailing races, his dad said, “Most of the other sailors we race against are smarter and more talented than we are. But the reason we’re going to win is we’re going to work harder and be better prepared.”
Believe that you can, the right kind of support will allow you to triumph, and those who work hard will win. These are lessons we can learn from.
Thank you, Teddy.