I remember when I was in first grade and President Kennedy got shot. Our teacher walked into our classroom crying and told us what had happened. It is a memory I will never forget. Hence; “Kennedy Moment” is a caption that those of us who remember that day can understand clearly. Though I sometimes have wondered if the younger population  truly understands exactly where the term came from. Since that day, there have been other iconic moments  such as when the space shuttle exploded or the day 911 came to mean something different to a whole population than it had just the day before. And it has made me reflect on the moments in life that were my own Kennedy Moments.

When someone dies, when a baby is born, a fight, a celebration…we remember those moments in our lives when our own worlds changed forever. The choices we make in the moments we live. What is important. What really is not. We realize those moments as treasures and tragedies. But in embracing it all, as you live… you realize what truly matters and what just doesn’t. The relationships you let slip away, the ones you fight to maintain. It is all a series of lessons.

My daughter and I had the greatest converstaion yesterday about the past, present and future. She capsulized it by saying “The future really never exists except in our minds.” In essence she was sharing with me that our tomorrows are still in our imaginations. The events we plan may or may not ever happen or at least not the way we imagine them to. I am here to say that from the time I was very young. The future in my mind never really happened (in most instances) the way I imagined it back then when it was still just my future. Some of it happened better and some of it rolled out like a run away train that I had no control over but in the end the message here is to embrace today.

I remember the first time someone asked me to marry them, the first time I ever made love, our first fight, our last fight…

I remember breaking up with that person and thinking my life was over.

I remember meeting someone new,  our wedding day… looking out down on my husband to be waiting for me and the feeling I felt as if it were just yesterday.

I remember lying in the hospital after becoming a mom for the first time. The feeling of joy I’d never experienced before, imagining my life as a mom and trying to imagine his future.

I remember all the pain that came after that. Trying to survive being married to someone who probably should never have married anyone.

I remember finding out that I was going to have another baby and wondering if I could love another as much as my son. having my daughter and knowing in an instant that God gives us all the love we need and more.

I remember my husband crying tears of joy when she was born and wondering if she would be the miracle we needed to keep our family together. Imagining all the hopes and dreams I had, still yet to come…when life was still unwritten for us all…

I remember certain “first days of school” for both my kids… and many of their firsts… first steps… first words… why did I want to rush it all?

I remember crying with my first husband as we held each other in front of the paralegal’s office we shared after deciding together to (ammicably)  draw up our own divorce papers as all the dreams we’d once shared seemed to stop dancing through my head in one big fat Kennedy Moment.

I remember meeting my current husband and cautiously beginning to believe in happy endings again… but never really ever again in the same way. And the Kennedy Moment when I finally let go and knew that I loved him.

Today I think that as I look back at all my Kennedy moments…. the deaths and births, the iconic conversations and the forgotten ones… I understand more today than ever before that “TODAY” is all we have. Tomorrow is a gift God will decide if we get or not. So take today, this moment, this second and LIVE IT!!!!

Last night as my daughter and I had our conversation, I learned so much in our sharing and at that moment of inspiration… I realized that if  THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS…. it is awesome!!!!

39 thoughts on “Kennedy Moments

  1. I am totally inspired by you, as always. We watched the series The Kennedy’s and it was, like ‘re-living it all over again. I think you and I have talked before about remembering events from our youth and that weekend in infamy stands out vividly. I can tell you every single moment from the time our 7th grade History teacher turned on the Tv until the day our great President was laid to rest. Am ordering the DVD this morning.

  2. I love this post! I guess the only thing I can compare to the day of President Kennedy’s death is 9/11. The shock, fear and heartbreak we all felt. I actually saw the second plane crash into the tower on TV.

    1. Me too!
      It was so surreal. Watching it happen as it happened. So sad. I woke my daughter up and turned on her TV just as it happened so she has the memory too.

    1. Well, you have a great memory! Funny, I remember standing in my crib in a thing called a “bunting” which was basically a little sack… so obviously I probably couldn’t walk yet. Now that is early! But to actually remember the event of Kennedy getting shot at 3 is darn good remembering!!

    1. Yaz!!!
      I’ve sooo missed you and yours too! Can’t wait to hear about your amazing journey! I am sure we are all in for a treat as you piece together a wonderful look back upon your recent steps!

  3. WOW I love this story! I can relate in so many ways! not too long ago I think God was telling me to slow down and appreciate the small things in life, like the seconds that tick by because we will never get them back again and one day our memories will fade. Its important to take the time to truly look at our childrens’ smiles and hear their giggles, kiss our parents wrinkled cheeks and hug our life long friends. Thank you thank thank you for sharing.

  4. Diane – you couldn’t have captured it more beautifully and I was transported back to that day in the band room in high school when the squawky, intercom speaker broke in with the news that President Kennedy had been shot. Then, not long after, the final news that he was dead.

    It’s like time stops and we’re caught up together in this one moment feeling the same emotions.

    1. Pat,
      I love it! Your line about how time stops and we are all caught up in all the emotions again. Perfect sentence to describe so much of what is about me. Reliving life seems to be one of my deals in life. I sometimes wonder if it is just the heart of a writer collectively gathering material or a curse? LOL.
      Thank you for the AWARD! I am honored!
      As soon as I start getting that one extra day off again that I devote to writing I will get to those AWARDS. I am touchced!

      1. It’s true, Diane, I think as writers we tend to live in those “caught-up” moments that bring life to our words. I don’t think it’s a curse — if anything, a gift, where you’re sensitive and, perhaps, more aware of life happening around you.

        You’re truly welcome on the award and so deserving. I always enjoy your thoughts and reflections and I’m happy to share you with my readers.

  5. I don’t remember the day JFK was shot, but I do remember his televised funeral procession. I was at a neighbors house and their kids were outside running around playing and I was riveted to that black-and-white tv set. I didn’t even know what was going on but the solemnity of the parade and the horses and the flag over the coffin all had me rapt. I did reason out that someone very important and revered had died, that under that flag was that person. Few things have ever so fully held my attention and I didn’t even know what was really happening.

    A really well written piece.

    We have our own Kennedy moments, events or short periods of time that cannot and will not be forgotten. I’ll spare you my own list which would have me going on for quite a while.

    1. Jim,
      I find it quite intersting since I know your birthdate that you don’t remember the actual moment but then it is funny… I don’t remember the funeral stuff on TV at all. Not until years later and all the footage seen when I was older.
      I’d be interested in your Kennedy Moments and what you vividly remember in your life! That would be quite a list! 😉

  6. Hello Di, My memories of John Kennedy are from my junior year in HS when a group of us worked in his campaign office. He visited the school and we all shook hands with him and chatted with him in the school library. His death had some real meaning to me personally. As both you and your wise daughter said, tomorrow is only in our imagination. Yesterday…, well, that’s history and nothing’s going to change it. You can’t unring a bell. What is important is what we are doing today. This was a great post, Di. Thanks for the memories.

    1. Paul
      Your life sounds so rich. Your memories are always so intriguing.
      You can’t unring a bell! I love it!
      Did you say that? Reguardless, it fit wonderfully here! Thank you for sharing.

  7. I love this! I clearly remember that moment too. I was in the 5th grade and it was the only time in school I had ever gotten in trouble. (I just happened to like Nixon so I asked if he would be President now) Boy was that the WRONG theing to say. LOL
    I remember my first date cuz we went for pizza and just my luck…. when I took my first bite, ALL the cheese slid off the pizza slice and landed in my lap… had to go home and change… Then when the guy went to kiss me goodnight, I busted out laughing. Not good, but I knew my mom was on the other side of the front door peeking out one of the little windows.. It was a complete disaster…. LOL
    I’ve missed reading your blog, still can’t be on much as we are basically just taking it one day at a time waiting for my step-dad to pass. It’s hard, especially with a blended family. You’d think that since they’ve been married for 32 years, his 2 boys would accept us as family… (That was another complete disaster… for another day!) Miss you! 😀

    1. Sorry to hear about your step-dad, Keli. Just went through this with my mother-in-law who passed a couple of months ago. The “waiting” is tortuous, and miserable.

      1. Yes it is. It certainly can make the days blur together and you feel like you’re carring the weight of the world on your back. Sorry to hear about your mother-in-law also. My husband has never lost anyone so he doesn’t fully comprehend my behavior. LOL (I lost my real father when I was 25)

        1. My thoughts and prayers for you and family as you continue the “waiting”. You can’t let it be a burden, Keli. Try to think in terms of the good things you’ve shared and try to let the miserableness (is that a word?) pass by to others who are comfortable with it. I’m used to losing people at this point – my 1st wife and baby when we were very young, parents, brother, sister, and too many very close friends. It never is good nor gets any easier with time. Stay strong. Best to you.

          1. Thank you for the kind and wonderful words of consolation Paul. I appreciate it…. trying to stay strong and still waiting..
            Blessings ~ 😀

        2. Keli,
          Always love your humor. I love your Nixon question. Sounds exactly like my own kind of bad timing as a kid! Hopefully as I’ve gotten older I think I’ve learned to grow a filter there! LOL… I have some epic foot in the mouth Kennedy moments too!!!
          My prayers for your strength have been bombarding heaven! You seem to be in a place right now that demands your patience and you are one inspiring touch chick!!! My dad died when I was 26 and it is one of my Kennedy moments. I guess you can look at heart attacks as good and bad… you don’t have to watch your loved ones suffer nor hopefully do they suffer too much…. but then you don’t get the goodbye moments with each other. Both suck either way… I guess. It is definitely not fair when we are younger but then it makes it so hard when it all happens at once to so many we love. Once again… the joy of having a lifetime with loved ones but then like I said… it all seems to happen at once. This year has been iconic for you. I pray for many wonderful conversations tucked inside these tough times that someday will become your Kennedy moments! You are loved! Thanks for stopping in! I am always honored cuz I know your schedule!

  8. I was stationed in Germany when our commander-in-chief, was assassinated. My crew, and I were playing cards, and I instructed one of the guys to turn the radio on. The first thing we heard was, “We will be back with further news on the assassination of President Kennedy. We jumped up, contacted headquarters, and declared a red alert throughout the region. We were numb, and could not understand why. Needless to say, we were incensed, as some one had murdered our boss.
    There are many eventful events that cross my mind, as unforgettable ones. The day I gave my heart to the Lord, the first day It laid eyes on my future bride, the birth of my three siblings, first day of school, first musical gig, my Army stint, etc. All memorable. I thank God every day for the good, and thank Him for seeing me through the bad. Blessings.

    1. I loved that you mentioned when you gave your heart to the Lord. What was I thinking? That should have been first on my list! I was seven but there were so many times after that when I kept back sliding and coming back that I am not always sure seven counts! But it is a Kennedy moment in my heart so I guess it does.
      Thanks for sharing yours and being an inspriation to me!

  9. Wayne Dyer said it best not what the hippies to us but that today is the last day of your life … There is no promise of tomorrow …
    and I have a saying that struck me when reading Fractal Time by Greg Braden – Time is the relative motions in consciousness, measured against the relative motion of the background of experience …
    I was in Mr White’s fifth grade class when my 4th grade teacher Mr Biata came in and told Mr White the president has been shot ..
    … Kay said Ah .. said ah …

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