The news of Senator Kennedy's passing is not unexpected but still sad. Right now I suspect the Kennedy family is doing what it always does at times like these - coming together, relying on each other for support, and remembering all the good times while resolving to carry on.
Those of us who worked for Senator Kennedy are reaching out to current and former colleagues, thinking of our proudest or funniest moments with him. I was a mid-level policy wonk at best; but I was there long enough to see how hard Senator Kennedy worked, how much he truly cared for the issues, and how he could be larger than life and profoundly personal at the same time.
I'm sure an avalanche of eulogies for Senator Kennedy will come today and tomorrow; I'm sure people will have plenty of good things and bad things to say about him. I was by no means his closest confidant or his most trusted staffer, but I'm completely certain about one thing.
Right now, Senator Kennedy wouldn't want us to be talking about him.
Right now, Senator Kennedy would want us to be talking about health care reform.