Late Sen. Ted Kennedy spent his final days watching Bond…

This was a very interesting article posted by the Cape Cod Times. As you may know, long-time Senator Ted Kennedy, and the last of the original Kennedy family, passed away yesterday at age 77. However, it should be noted that the politician “was happy to the very end”, and spent his final days watching the James Bond series…

WASHINGTON — The once-indefatigable Ted Kennedy was in a wheelchair at the end, struggling to speak and sapped of his energy. But from the time his brain cancer was diagnosed 15 months ago, he spoke of having a “good ending for myself,” in whatever time he had left, and by every account, he did.

As recently as a few days ago, Kennedy was still digging into big bowls of mocha chip and butter crunch ice cream. He and his wife, Vicki, had been watching every James Bond movie and episode of “24” on DVD.

If he was feeling up to it, he would end his evenings with family dinner parties around the same mahogany table where he used to eat lobster with his brothers.

He took phone calls from President Barack Obama, house calls from his priest and — just a few weeks ago — he crooned after-dinner duets of “You Are My Sunshine” (with his son, Patrick) and “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” (with Vicki).

“There were a lot of joyous moments at the end,” said Dr. Lawrence C. Horowitz, Kennedy’s former Senate chief of staff, who oversaw his medical care. “There was a lot of frankness, a lot of hugging, a lot of emotion.”

Obviously, Horowitz added, there were difficult times. By this spring, according to friends, it was clear the tumor had not been contained; new treatments proved ineffective and Kennedy’s comfort became the priority.

But interviews with close friends and family members yield a portrait of a man who in his final months was at peace with the end of his life and grateful for the chance to savor the salty air and the company of loved ones.

Befitting the epic life he led, Kennedy was the protagonist of a storybook finale from the time of his diagnosis in May 2008. It was infused with a beat-the-clock element: His illness coincided with the debate over health care (“the cause of my life”) and the election of a young president he championed.

Kennedy raced to complete his legislative work and his memoirs (“I’ve got to get this right for history,” he kept saying)..

“He was the only one of the Kennedy boys who had a semi-knowledge that his end was near,” said Mike Barnicle, former Boston Globe columnist and an old friend who lives nearby. “There was no gunman in the shadows, just an MRI. It was a bad diagnosis, but it allowed for the gift of reflection and some good times.”

Kennedy wanted to project vigor and a determination to keep on going. He chose what he called “prudently aggressive” treatments.

He also told friends he wanted to take stock of his life and enjoy the gift of his remaining days with the people he loved most. “I’ve had a wonderful life,” he aid repeatedly, friends recalled.

The Rev. Mark Hession, the priest at the Kennedys’ parish on the Cape, made regular visits to the Kennedy home this summer and held a private family Mass in the living room every Sunday.

His children had expected him to hold on longer — Kennedy’s son Patrick and daughter Kara could not get back to Hyannisport in time from California and Washington.

But the senator’s condition took a turn Tuesday night and a priest — the Rev. Patrick Tarrant of Our Lady of Victory Church in Centerville — was called to his bedside. Kennedy spent his last hours in prayer, Tarrant told a Boston television station, WCVB-TV.

He died comfortably and in no apparent pain, friends and staff members said.

Kennedy had told friends recently that he was looking forward to a “reunion” with his seven departed siblings, particularly his brothers.

“When he gets there, he can say, ‘I did it, I carried the torch,’ ” Rep. William Delahunt, D-Mass., said. ” ‘I carried it all the way.’ “

Senator Kennedy had good taste in films, it seems. My condolences go out to the family, and may he rest in peace.


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