The Irish priest at Teddy Kennedy’s side as he died says “Teddy wanted to go, he went in peace and it was beautiful.”
Monsignor Patrick Tarrant, a native of Cork who has been a priest for 56 years, was called to the Kennedy home on Tuesday evening from the nearby Our Lady of Victory Parish in Hyannisport when Kennedy took a turn for the worse.
“I think it was probably late Tuesday evening between 9 and 10 he took a turn, a serious turn, and I was called. So I was there until he died and he died at 11:30ish," Tarrant told local news stations.
Tarrant said all the family was gathered at the bedside. The truth is, the priest said that, “he expressed to his family that he did want to go. He did want to go to heaven. He was ready to go.
"There was a certain amount of peace, actually — in the family get-together last night. I couldn’t help but think that the world doesn’t know that part of Kennedy at all.”
Tarrant stated he was deeply impressed with the family and their prayerfulness as the end neared.
”I have been a priest for 56 years and I would say that rarely have I seen such a devout, prayerful family after the death of his sister and his own death. I am very impressed.
“It's never easy to part with those you lose, to part from them and see them go, even if you know they want to go and they don’t want to suffer any more. I don’t know how much he was suffering as I am sure we has well-cared for medically, I am sure he was because the doctor was there .He was slipping away gradually as I got there, but everybody was right there. The doctor was there of course, and all the family were there.”
Tarrant stated that many generations of Kennedys were there and that Vickie, his wife, and his children were in tears as the end neared.
“I don’t know the different distinctions here. They are all such handsome kids and I don’t know who they all belong to, but they were there and they were prayerful and reverent and they were talking about their grandfather and talking to him.
"They were aware that for the very sick the sense of hearing is the last to go, so whatever is said around the sickbed is always heard by the patient, which is good to keep in mind, and they were very well aware of it. They let him know how much he was loved and cared for and missed and it was quite an experience."
Tarrant stated that all the attention was focused on Teddy as he slipped away. “I was focused on him myself, we were all focused on him, but it was a very peaceful evening and it was something we pray for ourselves you know, we say 'go in peace' and he certainly went in peace. It was beautiful and I would love the world to know that part of it.
"I think the whole world knows certain parts very well, but I think there's another part of his life that very few people know, and that's his deep faith. His very deep faith in God and his love for his family," Tarrant said.
The priest recalled how Kennedy led the prayers following Kennedy's sister Eunice's death Aug. 11, even though he was debilitated by his brain cancer. He said it was clear it was Kennedy's faith that gave him strength.
"He was there and very reverent. I wish the world had known that part of him, but that was his secret. It was like it was the secret of his power, to be involved in doing good for others and it was what, I believe, drove him," Tarrant said.