How Kathie Lee Gifford Used a Bible Verse to Comfort Ethel Kennedy
By Movieguide® Staff
Christian television personality Kathie Lee Gifford revealed that God used her to comfort Ethel Kennedy after Kennedy’s son, Michael, died in 1997. Gifford shared a Bible verse with Ethel that brought comfort to the family.
Michael was Robert F. Kennedy’s sixth child with Ethel Kennedy, out of 11 total children. Michael, who was a businessman, lawyer and political activist, died in a tragic skiing accident on New Year’s Eve in Aspen, Colo., at age 39.
In Gifford’s new book, “It’s Never Too Late,” Gifford recalls how she stayed with Ethel Kennedy beside her son’s body.
“She was grieving so deeply that she couldn’t move,” Gifford, 67, told People. “She was literally paralyzed with grief.”
The former TODAY co-host’s daughter, Vicki Gifford, had recently broken up with Michael Kennedy before the accident. However, the Giffords were still close to the Kennedys at the time.
Gifford explained that she and her family went to the hospital to console Ethel in her time of loss.
“‘My’ I thought, ‘how much can one woman take?'” Gifford said, referencing how Ethel’s husband was assassinated in 1968. “I quietly walked over to her and embraced her and whispered how sorry I was. She had always been very candid that Michael was her favorite child of the 11 she had born. And now, he, too, was gone.”
Gifford, accompanied by her late husband Frank, stayed by Ethel’s side. According to the star, Gifford and her husband prayed silently with Ethel as she grieved and even quoted scripture.
“To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,” Gifford said, paraphrasing 2 Corinthians 5:8.
Gifford recalls that moment as a significant way God used her in Ethel’s life.
“Ethel is someone who’s had religion her whole life,” Gifford told People. “And so [God had] been a huge part of her life, but she’d never heard the scripture before that I shared with her in the book … It changed her life.”
She concluded: “The word of God has power. It is the power of all life is in the word and the words. And that’s what broke through the darkness for her — the light of the truth of God’s word.”