The Death of My Father and the Death of a Kennedy

My father was a lifelong republican and Ted Kennedy was a lifelong democrat.  My father was a lifelong conservative and Kennedy was a lifelong liberal.  Where did these two men converge?  In their brains.  My father also had this terrible brain tumor and it also killed him this past January as we knew it would.  I have been thinking of my Dad all day.  He like Kennedy was pretty together until the tumor won.

Dad and I never agreed on politics.  I was always stirring it up for socially liberal causes, he for conservative causes.  He felt it was his duty to support his political party, I felt compelled to support the best candidate no matter their party.  We did, this past election cycle, agree on one thing after watching more debates than any one person should have to sit through.  He actually said he thought Hillary was the best candidate.  I rushed to take his temperature!  I told him maybe his brain tumor was affecting his outlook!  He laughed and said he seriously doubted it, but I thought…finally common ground.  When Kennedy was diagnosed with his brain tumor, I told my father” finally something you and a Kennedy have in common”.  Dad thought that was hysterically funny. 

As a child, peace signs were a sign of trouble; I had one on everything I owned.  Long hair parted in the middle was a no-no; as soon my parents divorced, I grew mine out and parted it in the middle.  Protesters were destroying the country; I couldn’t help myself, I protested everything. 

The Catholic in him thought gay people were choosing, the enlightened me thought it was not a choice it simply was what it was.  His brother came out and as I have said in a previous blog, his views changed and his less conservative older self thought, what the heck, it is what it is. 

I think our diametrically opposed politics and ideals were what contributed to me always having something to say about issues. At one point in our lives, I didn’t speak to him for eight years. And yet later in life, I became his caregiver when he became ill. 

We however always did have one thing in common; we never sat on the sidelines, he for his causes, me for mine. We had interesting dynamics, my father and I.  Not always good, not always healthy, always interesting.  

Family is a strange thing.  Someday, I’ll write a book about it all, even if only in my head.  I am sure my siblings will make me change their names to protect the innocent.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mslore
    Aug 28, 2009 @ 06:22:09

    Nancy, there is so much food for thought in your blog. You’ll keep me busy… and you’ll keep other readers on their toes and thinking.

    Thanks for writing about your dad and Ted Kennedy–what they suffered in common and how diametrically opposed they were in their political views. I always just followed my dad’s politics. I’ve never been an original thinker, and he was a good guy to emulate. Luckily, he was a liberal democrat and once introduce me to Senator Paul Douglas saying, “This is my daughter, Sandra. Her politics are left of center.” Then he grinned. I was in high school at the time. It was a precious moment seeing him grin about my left leanings.

    We’ll all miss Ted Kennedy. I hope so much more the next generation of Kennedys will step up to the plate. The name is powerful, and they can do so much because of it.


  2. Martha Woodroof
    Aug 29, 2009 @ 07:15:34

    I found this very, very moving. My Dad and I agreed politically, but we found plenty to argue about none-the-less! Welcome to Blog World! Nice to have you here. See you tomorrow, Martha


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