Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ode to Mike Kennedy (Letter from "Pajama Lady")

NOTE: There was no title on this piece about Mike. This came as a letter which came in the mail before it got extremely busy with Journey tours, etc. Also, I need to get a regular photo turned into one I might be able to post. Bear with me. Thanx so much, "Pajama Lady" and the "Death Row Support Project in Liberty Mills, Indiana - for sending the letter to us, here at The Journey blog"!!! Thanx for your patience, Pajama Lady and Rachel for sending this poignant piece & photo (which I hope to post soon!)

For those who haven't seen it, we did a post on Mike quite awhile back here on The Journey Blogsite. How Mike's story is deepened as more who knew him write about him! Connie

Mike Kennedy was born on May 17, 1954, under a radical star. That was the day the US Supreme Court declared school segregation unconstitutional, which ushered (in) the civil rights movement of the 50's and 60's.

Through July of 1995, Mike was seizure-free. His medication (depakote); however, was raised to 500 mgs, 3x a day. (Double what he had been taking.) The doctor though Mike may have had seizures of which he was unaware. Mike had lesions on the brain.

Mike spent four years in college to earn a BA in Social Work. He had a Masters in Theological Studies. He took courses on Pastoral Care, Counseling, Ethics and Latin American Studies. It took him four years to complete a two-year course. He was a certified Social Worker in Texas.

He worked with alcoholics and drug addicts eight years even though he was not a certified alcohol/drug counselor. He also worked in a soup kitchen for a year. He still was unemployed...

He revealed the medication affected his speech and balance. (The balance more so at night.) But his legs were exhausted from carrying his body around all day.

With little money in his pocket for travel and holes in his shoes, he still would grab his cane and join a Journey of abolition fast - or protest peacefully against man's indignity to man.

Sometimes I would remind him not to forget his cane. And of course he did, in Atlanta, GA. And he implied that I jinxed him. He said, "So don't you jinx my teeth!"

Unfortunately, we never had that reunion we hoped for. But I know where he is. He's in the place of pleasant dreams and blue skies, where the lion and the lamb co-exist in peace and there is no death penalty.

Pajama Lady

PS I heard Mike died in the doctor's office of a heart attack, during a visit.
Here are a few notes that were in the letter "packet" from Pajama Lady: "Mike took in people who might have been on the streets - but for his good heart. He took in a pregnant lady, offered his apartment to a woman in jail - people with ALS, MS, those who stagger, etc. He was my friend since '92. He mentioned Franz Jagerstatter and Deitrich Bonhoeffer."

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