By Tara Overzat
Sen. Ted Kennedy passed this week after a 15 month battle with a malignant glioma, a type of brain cancer. While the media seems to be focusing on his “political achievements” and all the friends he had on Capitol Hill, Mary Jo Kopechne’s death seems to have been forgotten.
On a summer’s night in 1969, Kennedy was responsible for the drowning death of this young female aide to his late brother Robert Kennedy. The Chappaquiddick incident (as it came to be known for the bridge the possibly inebriated Kennedy drove his car off of, resulting in the girl’s death) and its cover up is a part of the man’s history that should not be forgotten. You can read a Time Magazine article from 1970 here, or google “Chappaquiddick” for more details.
In addition, Kennedy wrote a letter to the Pope that Pres. Obama hand delivered (article here). I grew up in the Catholic faith, and recognize this as a serious gesture. Throughout the letter he alludes to his human failing. In part it reads:
“I am writing with deep humility to ask that you pray for me as my own health declines. I was diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago, and, although I continue treatment, the disease is taking its toll on me. I am 77 years old and preparing for the next passage of life.
“I have been blessed to be a part of a wonderful family, and both of my parents, particularly my mother, kept our Catholic faith at the center of our lives. That gift of faith has sustained, nurtured and provided solace to me in the darkest hours. I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith, I have tried to right my path.”
Was this an old man, who at the end of his life, suffered remorse for recklessly snuffing out the life of another? Did he fear he would not go to Heaven after killing one of God’s children?