The House That (Mrs) Kennedy Built

Here in New England, many of the media outlets have been focusing on the tragic death of Mary Richardson Kennedy, estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.. And it's not surprising. It is a terrible story, with a terrible ending. Mary Kennedy married into the Kennedy family in 1994 and had four children with Robert (Bobby) Kennedy. But beneath the seemingly glamorous sheen of their lives, there were dark shadows in the marriage. Mary suffered deep depression, thanks, in part, to her decision to give up her architecture career in order to raise her children. Robert Kennedy himself referred to this in his funeral address, and must have been well aware of the career sacrifices she had made – and the toll it took on her mental health. The couple filed for divorce in 2010, and from then on Mary's health deteriorated even further.

Being a career-focused person myself, I can only imagine the anguish Mary would have gone through in giving up her beloved architecture career to become a mother. Being a mother, of course, is possibly the most rewarding job in the world, but we all need our creative outlet. We all need something to nourish us and feed our souls besides our (much-loved) family life. It's so important to have a career or even an interest or hobby of our own. If I were asked to give up my writing and photography, I think I'd been very sad, too.

By pure chance, we are heading to Cape Cod today, and to the Kennedy Museum and Kennedy compound. We were going there anyway, but it seems particularly poignant now. Mary Kennedy was recently buried at the Centerville cemetery, only a few miles from the Kennedy seaside compound in Hyannisport. As we tour the area, I'll reflect on the sacrifices career women make.

Several years ago, GANT shot their Fall 2010 Home Collection at the Kennedy family home. The video features Mary Kennedy and the superb house she helped design and decorate.

In this video, she looks serenely beautiful.
May she now rest in peace.

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