Every time I've ever looked at the video of John F. Kennedy's assassination, I've watched his wife. She's the most interesting part, from her tragic loveliness to her sad pink outfit. When the bullets start firing, her behavior is odd and controversial. Some folks criticize her for appearing to crawl out of the car, for trying to flee...and even if that was what she was doing, folks were getting their heads blown off. It would make sense to flee.
I always read her behavior differently, though. I thought she looked like she was reaching over the trunk of the car trying to scoop up pieces of brain. I imagine her thinking something like, "Oh no! This is bad! He's going to need this part of his head when he gets better!" I imagine her in something like denial, scooping up her dying husband's brains with a sense of duty, with a sense of a still-possible future, the idea of a later time when his brains will be all back in his head and he'll be all patched up.
I think of her a lot lately, this iconic figure of a wife attempting to piece together her impossibly blown-apart husband. I think of myself and my own denial that my husband might be too far gone ever to be put back together again. I feel myself scrambling, fighting, begging, praying, hoping that it's not impossible for him to be ok, for me to be ok, for us to be ok together. I still have hope that he could be a whole man some day, and that we could have a real life together in spite of a lot of evidence that he won't be, that he can't be, and that having an adult relationship with someone as sick as my husband isn't possible.
I still have hope. I hang on. I keep sitting in a sinking ship.
Photo Credit: JFK Assassination