One year later Vicki Kennedy says Ted Kennedy is still a huge presence in her life.

"It is still hard to believe he’s gone.

“Teddy is still such a huge presence in my mind and in my life. I hear him; the echo of his voice is always with me and it totally comforts me.”

His spirit lives on too, she told the Boston Herald. The first anniversary of his death is this Wednesday

“My husband had such extraordinary perseverance that always kept him coming back, no matter what,” she said. “It was something that had clearly been forged in the fires of life.”

She says he always comforted her no matter how he was feeling himself.

“Teddy would simply look at me and say: ‘Vicki, now try to remember what you were so upset about one year ago,' Of course, I never came up with an answer. Certainly not a good one anyway.”

She says the completion of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, in Boston, will her legacy to him.

“It really will be a singular place,” she said, “unlike anything that currently exists in Washington, or anyplace else. Just like Teddy, I can promise you the institute will not be a static, boring place.”

She says the senate today, mired in gridlock, deeply misses  her husband-- a point Vice President Joe Biden made to her recently

“The vice president reminded me that Teddy never questioned other people’s motives, no matter how much they may have disagreed with his positions,” Vicki said. “He understood that they cared for America just as deeply as he did."

Ted didn’t demonize people, Biden told her.

“And that was so true,” she said. “He wasn’t interested in taking the credit, so long as he could make things happen. That’s why he was as successful as he was in moving things forward and creating alliances.”

“I know people miss him terribly,” Vicki stated , “I understand that. Everywhere I go, I can feel that the mark he left was carved in a way that was visceral.

“I think back to that night outside the library a year ago (after he died), and greeting thousands of people who’d come to pay their respects. When I took their hands, it seemed that each one told me a story about Teddy that was personal - about coming up to the office, or something he had done that changed their lives in some way. It was overwhelming, really.

“I know that people long for him in so many ways. And let’s face it, I also realize there are plenty of people who don’t.

“It’s always been that way,” she said. “Teddy understood it, accepted it, but never took it personally or let it poison him. You have to understand, my husband had amazingly thick skin. He didn’t read that stuff, or respond to it. He preferred to remain optimistic and always kept looking forward.”