Patrick Kennedy: Dad's Death Changed Everything
Rhode Island Rep. resigned after 'soul searching'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2010 1:11 PM CST

(Newser) – Patrick Kennedy decided not to run for reelection in part because of his experience watching his father die of brain cancer. “It’s pretty simple,” he said in an interview with Rhode Island Monthly. “I went through something that caused me a great deal of soul searching and self-reflection. Right now, a personal life is of greater value. Emotional connections that are real and loving and personal just trump everything else.”

The journalist who interviewed Kennedy says he got the impression that the death made the unmarried 42-year-old want to start a family. Kennedy said that during his father’s final year, they grew closer, and he realized that his political standing didn’t matter to the elder Kennedy. And as for his father's request that he clear his schedule and spend a few final weeks with him, "I’ll never forget it for the rest of my life. His just asking me to be there was the greatest gift he ever gave me in his life," he recalls. "I can’t imagine if I had a year to live and I didn’t have kids,” added Patrick. “All the legislative accomplishments in the world wouldn’t matter.”