The Kennedy family

Talk of a Kennedy curse is already filling online discussions and tabloid headlines after the suicide of Mary Kennedy, former wife of Robert F Kennedy Junior.

She tragically took her own life, at the age of 52, in the family home at Mount Kisco, in upstate new York.

Talk of a curse  makes for good tabloid fodder but study the history of any large and extended family and you will find ample tragedy as well.

It is nonsense of course, but it was used when Ted Kennedy’s daughter, Kara Kennedy, just 51, died unexpectedly last year.

It is true that untimely deaths run like a river through the history of the extended family and Kara and Mary were no exception.

But when you examine the deaths throughout the family, they were from war, assassination, and plane crashes; random and terrible events that struck many families exposed to risk and danger.

Four out of Ambassador Joseph Kennedy’s nine children died tragically, but there was hardly a curse involved. Joe Junior died in the war and Kathleen died in a plane crash and John and Bobby were struck by assassin’s bullets. It is hardly likely that Sirhan Sirhan or Lee Harvey Oswald were enacting a curse when they shot them.

There has been much pain in the next generation.

Ted’s two other kids, Ted Junior, who lost a leg to cancer, and Patrick, who has had major substance abuse and alcohol issues, illustrate just how tough the battle has been for the younger generation.

Michael died in a skiing accident, while others, including former Congressman Joe Kennedy Junior, had close scrapes.

John Kennedy Junior was also a casualty of course, dying far too young in that Martha’s Vineyard plane crash.

His sister Caroline remains the only direct inheritor of the JFK family name as a result.

Is it a curse or is it just what any family so large and so extended would go through?

I believe it is the latter. Talk of a curse is nonsense really, this is a massive extended family, always under scrutiny and one in which every illness and death is highlighted.

The mad men who gunned down JFK and his brother Bobby were not acting out some curse, but rather a twisted agenda of their own.

The death of this generation of Kennedys has actually been few and far between.

David died of a drug overdose, brought about by a very tough childhood after his father’s death. John died in a plane crash that arguably was avoidable, and that is it really, until Kara’s death.

So talk of a curse, with such large numbers in a massive extended family, is just nonsense. The Kennedys may not be that all American normal family, but then who is these days?