Ice cream and Bond: Teddy's final days

Teddy Kennedy was fortunate and told everyone so in the last weeks and months of his life. Unlike his three brothers, Joe, Jack and Bobby, he knew what was coming and, roughly, when the curtain would fall. He had time to enjoy a few things first.

Like ice cream, not plain vanilla but mocha chip and butter crunch, preferably mixed together. Weight gain was hardly a concern.

Like home and sea air. Like James Bond movies and episodes of 24. Best of all, like family and good friends. When the brain cancer diagnosis came in May 2008, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston thought he had weeks left to live, at best a few months. So Teddy did well. It was a full 12 months before he finally trod the corridors of the Capitol in Washington for the last time to retreat to Hyannis Port and the love of Vicki, his wife. The first public clue that the end was approaching came this month when he failed to attend the funeral of his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

In recent weeks, he was in a wheelchair, no longer able to walk, but still he fought. The patient made it out of bed every day except for Tuesday, the day he died. Vicki saw to it that the swirl of friends and family never abated, in late July launching a string of dinner parties in his honour. Some nights, Teddy would sing duets at the table, "You Are My Sunshine", for instance, and "Just A Closer Walk With Thee".

Among regular visitors to the house was his last remaining sibling, Jean Kennedy Smith, who rented a cottage down the road, and also the family's priest. Until the end, Mr Kennedy relied heavily for comfort on his Catholic faith.

"This is someone who had a fierce determination to live, but who was not afraid to die," Bill Delahunt, a Democrat Congressman elected from the Hyannis district, told The New York Times. "And he was not afraid to have a lot of laughs until he got there."

Once there, Mr Delahunt said, Mr Kennedy was looking forward to being reunited with the slain brothers to tell them: "I did it; I carried the torch. I carried it all the way." As he did.

ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform