The love Jackie Kennedy had for her husband John F. is poignantly reveled in a new book by Archbisop Philip Hannan who was John. F. Kennedy’s private spiritual advisor and delivered the eulogy at his funeral.
In his new book ‘The Archbishop wore Combat boots’ Hannan reveals the text of two letters that Jackie sent him soon after her husband was assassinated.
The first reads :
“December 20, 1963
Dear Bishop Hannan,
I have meant to write to you for so long—to thank you for the most moving way only you could have read those words at the funeral, to thank you for the book and cloth from the children’s burial—for asking me to the December 22 Mass—for your help always to my husband in seeing the world the way he did.
If only I could believe that he could look down and see how he is missed and how nobody will ever be the same without him. But I haven’t believed in the child’s vision of heaven for a long time. There is no way now to commune with him. It will be so long before I am dead and even then I don’t know if I will be reunited with him. Even if I am I don’t think you could ever convince me that it will be the way it was while we were married here. Please forgive all this—and please don’t try to convince me just yet —I shouldn’t be writing this way. With my deep appreciation….
The second was after six months after at a mass celebrating the late president’s birthday:
"Dear Bishop Hannan,
I do wish to thank you for the Birthday Mass—for making it so beautiful and so moving—for what you said about President Kennedy.
I am afraid that that—then hearing the Star Spangled Banner sung by the choir—were more than I could bear—and I felt as if time had rolled back 6 months—and I was in the same place in the same church I had been in in November—and all the efforts one had made since then—to climb a little bit of the way up the hill, had been for nothing—and I had rolled right back down to the bottom of the hill again.
That is why I could not bear to look at you when you came to speak to me—as I did not think I could control my tears—but I wanted you to know that was the reason.
You must know how grateful I am to you every day—for believing in and being a friend of John Kennedy when he was alive—and for bringing meaning out of the despair at his funeral and birthday Masses—and for the night in Arlington with our two children—and for your work now at the Kennedy Center. You will always be working for all the things he believes in—and I will always know that and be comforted.
I will try so hard to recover a little bit more myself—so that I can be of more use to my children—and just for the years that are left to me—though I hope they won’t be too many—And maybe one day soon I will feel strong enough to come and talk to you—With my deepest appreciation