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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

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

E150/2014 - English Language Checker (Grade B3)

On Application: Council of Europe: The European Court of Human Rights’s judgme...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Project Manager - Bristol South West

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager (PM), Key Banking Client, Retail ...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice