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The last moments of Senator Edward Kennedy were recalled today by Paul Hill, who is married to Robert Kennedy's daughter Courtney.
Hill said that as Kennedy lay dying, the last sound he would have heard would have been his grandchildren splashing in the waters of Nantucket Sound outside his Hyannis Port home.
Poignantly, Kennedy died in the same room where he sang "My Wild Irish Rose," to his mother Rose as she lay dying.
Belfast-born Hill said: "It was exactly how Teddy wanted it, the cries of the next generation of Kennedys playing happily where he had spent the best days of his life, sailing on the sound. I'm sure he could hear them. It was a fitting way to die.”
He said the family patriarch did not suffer.”He appeared comfortable and without pain. It was really a blessed leaving."
After being given the last rites by Irish priest father Gerald Tarrant, Kennedy's last words were that he was ready to move on.
At the end, Hill said, the grandchildren gathered outside while Vickie his wife, Kara his daughter and Teddy junior gathered at his bedside for the final moments.
His other son Patrick was unable to make it back from Washington in time.
“Everyone was very stoic in an Irish kind of way," Hill said, “It was obvious if one broke that everyone would break; he was the most beloved of men.”
"They knew that Teddy was not just leaving a footprint, he was leaving a crater.
"We knew we were in the presence of greatness,” said Hill
Paul Hill was a member of the Guilford Four, three innocent Irishmen and an Englishwoman jailed for IRA crimes in Britain. They were released in 1994 after a worldwide campaign. Soon after he met and married Courtney Kennedy. They have a daughter Saoirse. He is now a human rights activist. The Oscar nominated movie “In the Name of the Father” was about their case.