Sad to say, but most people will quickly forget Mary Richardson Kennedy. No one wants to think very long about a mother of four who hanged herself in the barn.
If, as I have suggested, she was trying to make a statement, respect obliges us to continue to try to make sense of what she did.
By now it should be clear to nearly everyone that her estranged husband, Robert Kennedy, Jr., treated her very badly.
He was about to take custody of her children and remove her from her home. He had allowed her to be sued by American Express for non-payment of debt.
Her children and her home were her life… what effect does it have when someone uses institutional power to take those from a woman by judicial force.
And then there was the public humiliation of seeing pictures of her husband cavorting with another woman.
It is good that the New York Post continues to cover the story.
Its latest report tells a story of emotional torture, inflicted on Mary Kennedy in a public forum by Robert Kennedy’s paramour, Cheryl Hines. I think it fair to call it a rape of Mary Kennedy’s dignity.
Today the Post reports that Cheryl Hines was actively engaged in hijacking Mary Kennedy’s life, via Twitter posts.
Immediately after the suicide, Hines took down her Twitter account, but the Post retrieved it from a site called Topsy.
The Post story offers us an instance of a woman’s inhumanity toward another woman.
Most men are unaware of such open warfare. When they do hear about it they tend to dismiss it as not very consequential. If they do, they are wrong.
Cheryl Hines was trying to nullify Mary Kennedy. She wanted to replace Mary Kennedy with her husband, her children, her friends, and eventually, her home.
As a competitive strategy it is ignoble to an extreme. Hines was doing everything in her power to reduce Mary Kennedy to nothing.
Who among us dares to say that Cheryl Hines and Robert Kennedy did not succeed?
In the Post’s words:
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s latest squeeze, actress Cheryl Hines, had been flaunting their relationship online in the weeks before his wife hanged herself.
And her posts show that she virtually hijacked the life that Mary Richardson Kennedy had lived.
It wasn’t just that she was dating Bobby Jr. and taking Mary’s place at his side at various Riverkeeper galas and events.
Hines also had struck up friendships with two of Mary’s best friends, Kerry Kennedy and Glenn Close, according to her tweets.
The “Curb Your Enthusiasm” blonde even tweeted about talking football with Mary and Bobby Jr.’s 11-year-old son, Aiden.
Mary had been a close friend of “Fatal Attraction” star Glenn Close. They’d been so tight that Close sang at Mary’s funeral Saturday.
But it was the 46-year-old Hines, not Mary, who accompanied Bobby Jr. to Close’s April 15 birthday celebration.
And Hines was happy to hijack Mary Kennedy’s friends too:
Kerry Kennedy — the person who had first introduced Mary to her brother — posted a picture of Close, Bobby Jr. and Hines arm-in-arm on Twitter.
Hines tweeted that day: “I got to tell #GlenClose what an inspiration she has always been to me.”
Just the day before, Hines also tweeted about stopping at a local Westchester burger joint where Mary used to take her and Bobby’s kids.
“At Armonk’s Burgers & Shakes in Armonk, NY. So, sooooo good,” she wrote.
Kerry Kennedy, who would later write a eulogy for Mary, tweeted a picture of Hines, Bobby Jr. and singer Jackson Browne at a restaurant.
“Cheryl and Jackson Browne were amazing on stage and off,” she wrote April 28 after a California education fund-raiser that Hines attended with Bobby Jr.
Cheryl Hines showed no respect for Mary Kennedy. She was utterly shameless, and utterly disrespectful, flaunting the fact that she was stealing another woman’s life.
When people talk about whether or not shamelessness is a good thing, think of Cheryl Hines.