Sen. Kennedy knew he was in for the fight of his life, but duty called. One month after undergoing brain surgery, he returned to Capitol Hill to cast a crucial tie-breaking vote on a Medicare bill.

Then, in August 2008, he made a surprise appearance at the Democratic National Convention and voiced his continued support of Barack Obama, who went on to win the 2008 election.

Sen. Kennedy also pledged to be in Washington, D.C., on inauguration day, and on the morning of January 20, 2009, he sat nearby as President Obama took the oath of office. Only those closest to the senator knew what he went through to make good on this promise.

"He was exercising every single day to be strong enough to be there," Vicki says. "He was absolutely determined, and it was with great joy."

Despite setbacks and more seizures, Sen. Kennedy pushed on. He continued to sail the seas on his beloved boat, Mya, and even celebrated his 77th birthday with a star-studded bash.

But, most days, he devoted hours to his autobiography, True Compass, a book he worked on for the last five years of his life.


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