Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What Remains
A Memoir of Fate, Friendship & Love is a splendid book written by Carole Radziwill.

My eyes were so filled with tears I had to stop reading. I could barely make out the words---sad words, words that made me cry. It was page 254, next to the last page. The story was almost told and it was breaking my heart.

Carole Radziwill’s story is part fairy tale. She married a prince. He was the nephew of President John F. Kennedy. Her dearest friends were John Kennedy, her husband’s cousin and his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy.

Her dear friends, John and Carolyn die when their small plane plunges into the ocean. Three weeks later her husband dies of cancer.

The night before her husband’s funeral her mother-in-law gives her a small box from Tiffany. Inside was a diamond pendant cross on a thin platinum chain. Her husband, though very ill and dying had bought it for her birthday. “To my Peanut,” it says on the gift card. “Happy Birthday.”

The next day, the day of the funeral, Carolyn’s mother gives her something and says, “She would want you to have this.” It is Carolyn’s amethyst ring, inscribed with her initials in front of Carole Radziwill’s initials and the words, friends forever.

The book ends with words she had written about the beginning: “He was handsome and serious, bent over scripts in a hotel room, and then he stood and reached for my hand.”