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This weekend we were privileged to share with the Kennedys and their friends many intimate and touching moments of their grief and celebration of Senator Kennedy’s life.  One of my favorite sharings was the rendition of Love Changes Everything by Senate Chief of Staff, Nick Littlefield.  He described it as a song that uniquely expresses Kennedy’s values and especially his feelings for his wife.  Here is a wonderful rendition of Michael Ball’s followed by the lyrics.


Love, love changes everything,
hands and faces, earth and sky
Love, love changes everything,
How you live and how you die
Love, can make the summer fly,
Or a night seem like a lifetime
Yes love, love changes everything,
Now I tremble at your name
Nothing in the world will ever be the same

Love, love changes everything,
Days are longer, words mean more
Love, love changes everything,
Pain is deeper, than before
Love, will turn your world around,
And that world will last forever
Yes, love, love changes everything,
Brings you glory, brings you shame
Nothing in the world will ever be the same

Off into the world we go,
Planning futures, shaping years
Love bursts in and suddenly,
All our wisdom disappears
Love, makes fools of everyone,
All the rules we make are broken
Yes, love, love changes everyone,
live or perish, in its flame
Love will never, never let you be the same
Love will never, never let you be the same

Their blossoms down….(and) at the end of all loving and love,
May the Man above
Give him a crown.

Through the years there has been an eloquent voice, an outspoken political prophet and beacon of hope for the disenfranchised, the poor, the sick and those who live in the most anguished of circumstances in disparate places. 

His joy was the joy of this earth, its flows and founts, its soaring music and its quiet breezes, and its peoples.

He is gone from us now and I am saddened to watch as his family must again endure another loss of a husband, brother, father, uncle, grandfather as the world looks on with compassion and in some quarters, mischief.

As for me, he has only my appreciation and admiration.

Here are a few of his words:

    “For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.”

    “…securing quality, affordable health insurance for every American is a matter of simple justice. Health care is not just another commodity. Good health is not a gift to be rationed based on ability to pay. The time is long overdue for America to join the rest of the industrialized world in recognizing this fundamental need.

     “Children should not be denied the opportunity for a healthy start in life because their parents cannot afford insurance. Families should not have to worry about paying medical bills at the same time they are struggling to cope with all the other strains that serious illness brings.

     “Older couples should not see the savings of a lifetime swept away by a tidal wave of medical debt. And no Americans should find that the quality of their medical care is determined by the quantity of their wealth.

     “But that fundamental wrong occurs every day in America, over, and over, and over again.”


“I hope for an America where neither ‘fundamentalist’ nor ‘humanist’ will be a dirty word, but a fair description of the different ways in which people of good will look at life and into their own souls.

“I hope for an America where no president, no public official, no individual will ever be deemed a greater or lesser American because of religious doubt, or religious belief.

“I hope for an America where the power of faith will always burn brightly, but where no modern inquisition of any kind will ever light the fires of fear, coercion, or angry division.

“I hope for an America where we can all contend freely and vigorously, but where we will treasure and guard those standards of civility which alone make this nation safe for both democracy and diversity.”


heading quote is taken from an Irish poem delivered by Thomas Kiernan at John F. Kennedy Jr.’s christening….


railroad path

railroad path

I am beginning to feel myself again, crazy as I am at times.

Sometimes it seems my brain is fragmenting itself, and I need to go around like a cleaning woman and gather up all the pieces and rearrange some of the parts.

Other times I am tracking and on top of my executive functions.  But they can go so quickly.

On occasion I find myself crying with a patient.  Moments with them can be so tender and revealing of life’s most intimate realities and it is those realities that are painful.  Loss of those experiences, recognizing my limitations and how inaccessible some of the those experiences I have taken for granted have become is a sad reality.

Yesterday a couple were reveling in their newly regrown love affair with one another and there I was–tearing up.  My clients are very understanding each time this happens.  We go on a sideline for a while and come back.  I am sure it is meaningful to them in some ways, but it is tough for me to have the boundary of self-revelation become so porous.

I think it reflects a positive quality about my nature. .

And most folks I see recognize this and appreciate it.

Now, back to my changes:

I can spend time with my grandchildren without being self-preoccupied.

I can go to the movie and enjoy the plot line without interruption  (Wall-E, last Saturday night on the lawn at the town hall).

I can sit still and enjoy the conversation of others.

I can make it through a staff meeting without having to get up and leave.

I can enjoy being in the shower and not cry there.

Not bad.  Maybe I’ll have a future that is fulfilling in some new and different ways.

Lewis is irreplaceable.  No one could love me like he loved me or be so compatible with me.  No one.

What an extraordinary blessing we had to have spent all these years together and to have raised our fine sons and have five precious years with granddaughters.

How blessed.   Very blessed.

memorial stone love knot

memorial stone love knot

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Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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August 2009



On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory