I think it is safe to say that Patrick Kennedy never knew what he wanted until he saw his father on his deathbed.

Anyone who knew Ted Kennedy knew how devoted his family was to him. Whatever the public figure and foibles, in private Ted Kennedy was an absolutely adoring father, stepfather, uncle and grandfather.

Patrick watched this love unfold on his father's death watch, and reflected on his own life, at 42 and unmarried.

From that moment on, according to a family source, he believed he wanted some of the same unconditional love. He knew it would never happen as long as he stayed in Congress, where the lifestyle and his own mental and substance abuse problems merely exacerbated his situation.

A few weeks back, Patrick saw a poll that he was in the fight of his life to retain his Rhode Island seat. The anti-incumbency mood and his own high profile as a target were coalescing to make it very likely he would barely hang on to his seat.

At that moment, Patrick made his decision, I am told, to free up his life and get away from the Washington storm that has made it so difficult for him over the past few years to become a private person.

Now, he wants what every human being wants, a family, loving wife and kids. I hope he finds it.

It is wonderful that on his deathbed Teddy passed on the greatest message of all, the primacy of family and shared love.