On August 7, not quite eight months pregnant and feeling unexpected labor pains, Jackie telephoned for medical help from the Hyannis Port house and was rushed by helicopter to the Otis Air Force Base hospital in Falmouth. There, shortly after noon, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy was born cesarean section. Bobby telephoned me the following night to report that the infant was in critical condition and that I better get to Otis. At around four the next morning, before being able to leave, Dave Powers called me with the news that Patrick had died. The cause was hyaline membrane disease, better known today as respiratory distress syndrome.
Jack met me at the hospital. On our way to Jackie’s room, he emphasized the importance of keeping his wife’s spirits up. I stayed with the two of them for an hour. It was evident that each was trying to bolster the spirits of the other.
Jack kept stoic about his loss, but those of us close to him could see how he suffered. When he and Jackie returned to the Cape, Jack invited me over for a swim. He had John Jr. with him, and as we swam and then walked on the beach, Jack was absorbed in everything that his small son was doing. In the few months left to him, my brother showed an even greater preoccupation with the activities of his son and daughter than I had seen before. And he was concerned for Jackie, who took the loss as a tremendous blow. Over these few months of diplomatic crisis, pivotal legislation, and cross-country travel, Jack’s greatest concern was for his wife’s and children’s welfare.
-Edward M. Kennedy (True Compass)