The Last Days of Mary Kennedy

By Leamer, Laurence | Newsweek, June 18, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Last Days of Mary Kennedy


Leamer, Laurence, Newsweek


Byline: Laurence Leamer

She was the love of Bobby Jr.'s life. Then everything unraveled.

In the weeks before Mary Richardson Kennedy began searching the Internet for instructions on how to make a noose, the facade of a life she'd so desperately fought to maintain was rapidly crumbling. She was in the midst of an excruciatingly ugly divorce from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the second son of Robert and Ethel Skakel Kennedy. She was drinking heavily, and her behavior became so erratic that court authorities would only allow her to see her four children during visits supervised by the family housekeeper. "I saw her in the kitchen, like with her head down, and I was like, Oh, golly, she's talking on the phone and crying," says the housekeeper, who had lived with the couple throughout their entire marriage. "But then I get close to her, and she was passed out. The plate of food was old, and her face was on top of the plate. And that day, she was drinking a lot."

Easter Sunday, April 8, should have been a welcome respite from the chaos. She had the children--Conor, 17, Kyra, 16, Fin, 14, and Aidan, 10--all staying with her at the family home in Westchester County, N.Y. But she was drunk, and the housekeeper would now have to tell the court that Mary--who'd already been arrested twice for DUIs since Bobby had filed for divorce in May 2010--was drinking again. "I called Mary's sisters, and they said, 'OK, we're going there,'?" says the Colombian housekeeper, who spoke to me on the condition that her name not be used. "But they never show up. So after that, Mary told me, 'Oh, my sisters, my brothers, they're all so mad at me they don't want to talk to me for what I did.' And then she was so sorry, and then she say, 'Why I did it? Why, why, why I drink?'?"

Because of her condition, the family-court judge decided to give full but temporary custody to her estranged husband, who lived in a rented house just down the road from the couple's estate. Mary's best chance to get her children back was to do well with a psychological evaluation that would determine long-term custody. She was scheduled to see psychologist Marc T. Abrams in nearby Bedford Hills in early May, but twice broke the appointments and gave false excuses, which upset the psychologist, who notified everyone involved. She attended a session on May 10, and she had every reason to assume that when Abrams issued his report, he would recommend that Bobby be given full custody. And she feared living without her children.

Mary was spending much of her time in bed, and that Sunday morning, May 13, she looked so ill that the worried housekeeper skipped church to stay with her. Monday was no better, nor Tuesday, and the housekeeper had a feeling that something bad was about to happen. Two weeks prior, Mary had asked the housekeeper's husband to buy a rope, which she said she needed for a sofa she was making.

On Wednesday, May 16, Mary was nowhere to be found. The housekeeper and her husband looked all over but couldn't find her. The housekeeper called Bobby and he came over to the house. The three of them searched further, until they entered the barn and found a harrowing sight. Mary was as neat as Bobby was sloppy, and she had tied a beautiful knot at the end of the rope, attached it to a rafter, and hanged herself. The housekeeper fell to the ground in a fetal position and stayed there for several hours. As for Bobby, whenever a Kennedy had died during his lifetime, whether it was his brothers David and Michael or his cousin John Kennedy Jr., his lean face would turn gray with grief, but he never cried. Now the tears flowed.

And then came an even uglier spectacle: a battle between the two families as they lined up on a field of combat that ranged from the funeral and the burial ground to the spin in the media. The Richardsons wanted their sister buried in the family plot in Vermont. Bobby and Mary's two oldest children, Conor and Kyra, spent the entire day in court two days after their mother's death to tell a judge that they wanted their mother's remains buried near the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, where they would have an easier time visiting her. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Last Days of Mary Kennedy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.