Jackie and grief in 1963


I doubt there are many people over the age of 40 that do not know about the assassination of the American President… number 35, John F. Kennedy. One of the most iconic Presidents of American history helped somewhat by the charms of his wife Jackie. It is likely that you would have seen more than one movie about JFK, but not that many about his widow Jackie.

The film is of course, centred upon the assassination and its immediate aftermath. Retold, this time, from the given perspective of the then First Lady. Jackie Kennedy (played by Natalie Portman) suddenly became a widow at the age of 34. Her husband 12 years her senior had only been President for 2 years 11 months. Yet their brief “Camelot” was full of incident.

Grief on Display

Grief is of course a daily reality. We all lose people that we love. It is a deeply painful experience. When the effective Head of State is assassinated, an entirely different set of circumstances are presented to the grieving family and friends. There are practicalities of a ceremony to which dignitaries are expected. In this case JFK was killed on Friday and buried on Monday. This is set against the backdrop of anxious security forces on high-alert, not yet knowing the who, what, how many or why JFK was assassinated. A hasty usurping of position and removal from a home, albeit a temporary one. How to “behave” and conduct oneself? It is perhaps reminiscent of the thoughts that must have concerned the Royal Household when Princess Diana died nearly 20 years ago, albeit in very different circumstances, but the same dilemma – how to display grief.

1963 annus horribilis

The film touches on the wider context. Only 15 weeks earlier, the couple had lost their third child Patrick, just 2 days after her was born to infant respiratory distress syndrome. On Friday 22 November 1963 JFK left a wife and two small children, Caroline 5 and John 2. Both children had their birthdays that later that month, John Junior’s was the day of the funeral. Tough for any “normal” family to come to terms with. Certainly Jackie would be entitled to call 1963 her “annus horribilis”.

The truth about life assurance

Life assurance does not provide comfort. The financial services industry has always struggled to market life assurance and persuade people of its merits. It is a product that is only payable when a horrible event happens. What it does provide is the financial resource to continue, to go on, as gradually those left behind rebuild their lives. I have witnessed the benefits of life assurance and the strife caused by not having enough. I cannot overstate how important it is. The question of how much cover is really required will vary from person to person and how well resourced you are. It will also depend on how you have arranged your Will and your estate.

It is unlikely that your loved ones will be under the degree of pressure that Jackie faced, within the eye of the world’s media. However, you can plan to make any such event considerably easier than it might otherwise be. It is time to ensure that your own house is in order.

Here is the trailer for the film, for which Natalie Portman has been nominated for an Oscar as Best Actress in a leading role.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk