Sunday, August 30, 2009

Electronic Waking

RantWoman is debating what to make of two different electronic wakes she seems to be participating in.

First is the long media wake for Sen. Teddy Kennedy. RantWoman has been touched by accounts of his relationships with his extended family and by the deep personal appreciations expressed by many across the political spectrum who knew him. RantWoman is also touched by many expressions of his faith, his hand-delivered letter to Pope Benedict, the organ chords backing up all the hymns at mass and other ceremonies.

And then there is Chappaquiddick. RantWoman in college knew someone who could never speak of Sen. Kennedy without bringing up Chappaquiddick. The speaker herself was not from MA, but her roommate was. Conversations thus by turns got hysterically funny, for instance when Chappaquiddick turned into a verb (best don't ask) and a little tense. It's not that the other roommate worshipped the Kennedys. It's just that she was a loyal MA citizen.

Chappaquiddick would be considered a sore point in Sen. Kennedy's life. Chappaquiddick, a car accident where a young woman drowned and the driver took no action beyond saving himself, is the sort of circumstance where people with fewer connections and less legal wherewithal might have gone to jail and forever derailed a promising career. RantWoman thinks she is glad, unlike certain Republican louts with black marks of their own, that this episode kept Sen. Kennedy from becoming President. RantWoman thinks maybe he would have been a good President, but over the last four decades, the country has really, really, really needed good legislators as much as it needs good Presidents. Ted Kennedy by all accounts is a stellar legislator. Perhaps to seize John Calvi's toilet paper roll metaphor from his presence at NPYM Annual Session, his ultimate legislative service is the perfect example of him being the toilet paper roll to channel something desparately needed. Or perhaps RantWoman just does not have at her fingers enough dirt and discrediting fulmination to serve as a counterweight to the media mythmaking.

Even worse, RantWoman will now turn her attention to a beloved member of her meeting, now in hospice out on a big island in north Puget Sound. In terms of integrity and perceptiveness, RantWoman thinks Beloved Friend is at least on par with Sen. Kennedy. At the very least, Beloved Friend has no connections to any dead bodies ina car under a bridge, and RantWoman is pretty sure Beloved Friend would feel blessed not to have to interact with all that a politician has to interact with.

RantWoman guesses but is not certain that all her readers who know Beloved Friend already know of her CaringBridge site, but in case not,

RantWoman has a friend who is a doctor. Doctor friend says there are a million bad ways to die, and only a few good fast painless ones. Physically, iatragenic pulmonary fibrosis assuredly has got to be one of the bad ones. Yet, every time RantWoman visits this site, she is deeply touched by the profound love and humor about this Friend's journey.

RantWoman remembers another Beloved Friend who, when her lung cancer had taken enough of a course more or less demanded and got a wonderful celebration of her life, a memorial while she was still alive to enjoy it. RantWoman feels there is little she personally can or should do along this journey except hold all who are more closely in the Light, but RantWoman is so grateful for the hands and hearts and voices who are close by and so enjoying each new entry in the guestbook. RantWoman is even making mental lists of people from the guestbook who she wants to meet. RantWoman admits this may be a teeny bit unseemly, but as long as she is being unseemly, she might as well also wish Beloved Friend a rollicking good time along with the gasps for breath.

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