Tim Shriver Says Family Has Been ‘Sticking Together’ as They Remember Cousin Maeve Kennedy
The expanded Kennedy family keeps the spirit of Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her young son Gideon alive almost four months after their tragic death.
Tim Shriver, Maeves' cousin and John F. Kennedy's nephew, tells PEOPLE that the family has "held together" and continues to listen to each other, be it by telling stories about Maeve, who died at 40, and hers “Guts,” or meet Zoom regularly to pray, be silent, and meditate.
He adds that he recently welcomed Maeve's husband David and their two children Gabriella (7) and Toby (2½) to his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where they remembered the special way Maeve, a granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, the family's glue traded.
"We told stories yesterday about how she could deal with tensions in our family in a way that nobody had before and since then," he says. "We try to keep everyone's depth of sadness honest and without judgment."
Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty; Michael Loccisano / Getty Tim Shriver and Maeve McKean Kennedy
RELATED: An Emotional Interview With JFK's Nephew Who Remembers Cousin Maeve McKean and Her Son: "Unspeakably Difficult"
A special story that embodied Maeve and her brave spirit happened a few weeks before her death when Tim and his wife Linda hosted a reception for their cousin Patrick Kennedy's wife, Amy Kennedy, who is running for Congress.
"I greeted everyone and then introduced Patrick, who spoke on Amy's behalf because she wasn't there," recalls Shriver, 60. "And Maeve said," In this family, only men can speak, even if a woman is for is running for Congress. "... Not sharp, but all the message. It had the wonderful ability to change people without attacking them."
Shriver's 26-year-old daughter Kathleen adds: "She could say that sympathetically ... she could get away with it."
Facebook Maeve Kennedy and her son Gideon
Maeve, a human rights lawyer who has focused on global public health in recent years, died in a canoe accident in early April with her 8-year-old son Gideon.
She was the daughter of former Maryland governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and lawyer and professor David Lee Townsend.
RELATED: What You Should Know About RFK's granddaughter Maeve, a lawyer who was missing while canoeing with her son
She and her family lived in Kathleen's empty waterfront house in Shady Side, Maryland, to isolate themselves during the coronavirus pandemic. Maeve and Gideon ventured into a canoe to fetch a ball that had fallen into the water during the kickball game but was pulled into the open Chesapeake Bay. Her paddle and capsized canoe were found that evening and their bodies were discovered a few days later.
Shriver, chair of the Special Olympics, told PEOPLE shortly after her death that "the reality is that the pain is indescribably severe."
He also said that more than 120 family members had gathered from afar to mourn as the pandemic prevented a physical memorial.
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