Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Lost Kennedy Sister

The eulogies for Eunice Shriver as a tireless humanitarian bring to light again the story of a forgotten Kennedy, Rosemary, who was diagnosed as mentally retarded and, at the age of 23, underwent a lobotomy and spent the rest of her life in an institution.

When JFK was on his way to the presidency, no one talked publicly about a sibling who did not fit into the picture of a large family of healthy, active achievers, but when he was in the White House, Eunice with his permission wrote a magazine article about their sister and went on to spend the rest of her life working tirelessly for the retarded by founding and nurturing the Special Olympics.

“It fills me with sadness," she wrote back then, "to think this change might not have been necessary if we knew then what we know today.”

Rosemary Kennedy's story is yet another tragedy in the history of a family that lost its children to the public life chosen by the patriarch, Joseph Kennedy Jr.

Until she reached young womanhood, she lived at home and, despite her handicaps with the help of governesses and tutors, enjoyed a rich girl's life of tea dances, dress fittings and trips to Europe, but her increasingly erratic behavior, no doubt out of fear of pregnancy or other disgrace, led her parents to agree to what was even then the radical solution of brain surgery.

From then on, although she lived to 86, Rosemary Kennedy was as much a victim of her family's fame and ambition as her brothers Jack and Bobby were by assassins' bullets.

Eunice Shriver spent much of her adult life honoring her older sister's tragedy, and the improved lives of countless retarded people are a testament to what she wrought out of love and loss.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Once again this article has proven that the high and mighty Kennedy family may not be all that everyone has been made to think they are.
They certainly are not the "GOD Like" people that the media would like us to believe.
They are a family of wealth, influence and power without question; but they didn't get there the way you probably think.
Just do the research and you will find that they got this wealth by "bootleggers" money and then bought the rest.
Joseph Kennedy Jr. the father of JFK. RFK. etc.... was no different then any of the Capone types of his day or Bernie Madoff.
Think also of this everytime something happens a DUI Congressman Kennedy or Rape (Kennedy-Smith) what happens it goes away. If it were you or I would it?