Tuesday, June 3, 2008
It's Coming 'Round Again... Kennedy/Kelley Month...
June has never been a particularly good month for me.
As June approaches every year, I think of Kennedy and Kelley -- the two men who inspired me most: RFK in the political realm, DeForest in the creative and personal realm. Both passed away in June (June 5, 1968 and June 11, 1999).
If a person is shaped and molded by the people whose stories and personalities most resonate with her, I'm one ugly duckling whose faint swan-ness can be traced to the influence of two men the entire world knows about as a result of the way they lived their lives. How deeply they touched the public's imagination and conscience!
Bad things do happen to good people. Bobby's and De's death dates are scars, painfully branded onto my heart and mind. Every June I feel newly orphaned. I realize, "My heroes have been gone... 40 years...nine years." Every year the number of years since I've seen them inexorably increases. But it just never hurts any less. Sometimes I wish it would -- but that would be forgetting. And I can no more forget these two benefactors than I can un-live the times and the memories.
Every June I also acknowledge (usually just to myself, but this year to you) that I never feel I do "enough" to carry either of these men's legacies forward. And that pains me. I have always thought I was given these men as role models (by God) so that I would continue to emulate them to some degree for the rest of my life after they were gone.
For the longest time after Bobby died, I thought I "should" get deeply involved in politics and joust at the windmills Bobby took on. But after Watergate, my ardor to be seen as a politician plummeted. I didn't want to be thought of as "one of those" -- so pervasive was the belief and assumption by society that 99.9% of politicians were unsavory, to say the least. Of course that perception wasn't and isn't true, but I wouldn't have felt any more comfortable going all out to be a politician after Watergate than I would have felt deciding to be a bank robber. Not my style -- smoke-filled rooms, clandestine operations, "Deep Throat"-ing around trying to get something decent done in an environment of criminality... No, thanks! Think I'll pass!
I failed Bobby. I have his heart for justice, but not his guts for taking on what's wrong and doing whatever it takes to make it right.
Then there's De. I didn't "fail" De. I feel good about that. Oh, sure, I would have liked to have written a screenplay that would have brought him roaring out of retirement with a big, eager grin, a screenplay that would win him an Academy Award at the end of his life. That would have been grand. I wish I had believed in my ability to string words together as much as he did -- in time to do that for him.
But if I had, would I have been in a position to just be his friend, and to drop what I was doing (wherever I would have been doing it as a screenwriter) to help him at the end of his life? And Carolyn afterward?
Probably not. So I was exactly where God wanted me to be.
We all are. Some of us just don't know it yet.
I'm going to be missing Bobby and De for the next few days in lots of ways. Don't know for sure if I'll blog it or not. But just know that if you, too, are feeling the loss of either of these two men, I'm with you... and I know how much it hurts.