Jackie Kennedy’s ordeal after JFK’s assassination

“The former first lady constantly provided graphic details of her husband’s death to friends and family and contemplated suicide,” author BarbaraLeaming reveals in her 2014 biography “Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.”. “Although she put on a stoic face publicly, Kennedy struggled for decades internally.”

“If you have PTSD, you are constantly — and Jackie certainly was — constantly waiting for the next attack,” Leaming said. “When is it coming? You’re in a state of arousal at all times waiting for the next gunshot. And it’s a hideous way to live.”

via New book claims JFK assassination left Jackie Kennedy with PTSD —TODAY.com.


  1. It is the survivors of traumatic events who truly suffer and no one, under the most extreme severity of mass media glare before or since, has expressed that suffering more nobly than she.

  2. Jonathan says:

    “The former first lady constantly provided graphic details of her husband’s death to friends and family….”

    These details are quite possibly important in understanding the nature of JFK’s wounds, the timing and direction of shots, the behavior of Greer as limo driver, or other matters important in understanding the assassination. Does Leaming share these details? Is she aware of their content?

  3. John Crowley says:

    Yes, That’s why Jackie married Onassis. She could live on an island surrounded by armed men. jc

  4. Kennedy63 says:

    For Jackie, ever the consummate media manipulator, the horror of 11/22/63, and the closeness of death (JFK’s and her own) would be indelibly imprinted in her psyche. Who can say he/she saw their husband executed in public in such a cruelly vicious, barbaric, and grotesque manner, aside from being in a war?
    When I read her Warren Commission testimony, I am struck by the muted questioning by the august body of hand picked LBJ “Omissioners.” Here before them was the one person in the whole motorcade who held the head of the mortally wounded president in her lap. If what Ms. Learning states is true, then JBK was willing to talk about her nightmare. I understand that she was advised not to by RFK (probably out of concern for her and her children’s safety).
    I’ve always admired Jackie for her ability to survive and care for her children, despite the media net around her. As for the PTSD, and the comment that she was always looking for the next gunshot…she didn’t have to look, or wait, long (Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, MLK, RFK), did she?

    • Paul Turner says:

      She made a comment that turned out to be correct. When RFK announced his candidacy for the Presidency, she said(to whom I don’t know, but I saw the comment)”Do you know what is going to happen to Bobby? The same thing that happened to Jack.”

    • Zanrak says:

      Perhaps it’s most telling regarding a mother’s priorities, but JBK’s official actions remind me of an analogous quote from Marina Oswald: “Would you sacrifice your children for the truth?”.

  5. MDG says:

    It was harder than I expected to watch the recent PBS Rory Kennedy documentary on Ethel Kennedy. Their lives were so wonderful and then the tragedies happened when both JFK & RFK were assasinated. It was difficult to watch some of the children of RFK talk about when their father was assasinated.

    It cant be forgotten that Ethel Kennedy also had her husband shot in front of her.

    I have always wondered why RFK chose to run for President with all he must have known after his brother was killed.

    He wanted to carry on JFK’s legacy but did he not fear for his own life at this point.

  6. Paul Henry says:

    It haunted her when JFK was killed in Johnson’s home state and he became the next President but when RFK was killed in Nixon’s home state and Nixon became the next President she left the country. Who wouldn’t blame her. What did she think when Nixon of all the choices he had, made Ford an ex-Warren Commission member to be the next President? Was it his job to keep a lid on the conspiracy by controlling the Presidency and any subsequent investigations after ward like the one he put his own Vice President in charge of Rockeffeler? What did she think every time a Republican became President he was always from one of those two states JFK and RFK were killed in, Texas or California? Would she have been as concerned in 2000 that the last Republican President was first made President by an election controversy that was feared to be a home state conspiracy to steal the Presidency and make G. W. the next President because it happened in the political home state of his brother, the Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush? G. W. and G. H. W. Bush’s political home state, Texas is where JFK was killed. Is it part of the conspiracy cover up that by controlling the city, state and federal government the murders can be covered up? Is that why G W’s Presidential Library is in Dallas so he can politically control the Dallas police from reopening JFK’s assassination? Is that why Jeb Bush is running for President so he can control the release of the Warren Commission files in 2017 that could implement his father? What would she have thought when it was finally revealled after thirty years in 1994, after she died that year, that G. H. W. was the fourth President besides JFK, Johnson and Nixon to be in Dallas on November 22nd, 1963. Strange that you could have two men in Dallas around the same time, the same mannerisims and similar clothes styles that look so much a like only minutes away from each other. Was the picture Bush in front of the depository? It will be another thirty years before we learn the truth on that one.

    • Paul Turner says:

      Excellent commentary here, Paul. I would only suggest that Nixon didn’t “make” Ford the next President, unless he(Nixon)felt that Agnew’s resignation as Veep was a blessing for Nixon and Ford. That is to say, perhaps Nixon appointed Ford to be his next Veep, knowing that he(Nixon)would eventually resign himself, or be impeached, so Ford could then step in as President.

  7. MDG says:

    It is indeed heart wrenching to hear of all the suffering in the Ted Kennedy family in the new Patrick Kennedy book.

    Patrick in his own words breaks the Kennedy Family code of silence. The book is about his own struggles. But it also lays out his father’s struggles after the Assasinations.

    These people were were mere mortals and of course life became very difficult for Ted Kennedy after losing two brothers. Joan Kennedy descended into life threatening alcoholism.

    Ted Kennedy struggled but also accomplished great things such as health care.

  8. MDG says:

    It must never be forgotten what the Kennedy Family lost and a Nation lost aftet both Assasinations.

    JFK was brutally ambushed in a horribly public way.

    Of course we want to know who did it and why even after all these years.

    RFK was cruelly taken also after a great victory in the California Primary.

    Patrick Kennedy says there was just so much unprocessed grief that profoundly affected his entire family.

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