And so would begin Jackie Kennedy’s pressing fear for her family’s safety, eased not at all by the fact that President Kennedy famously carried with him the premonition that he would die young and had resigned himself to that fate. His favorite poem was Alan Seeger‘s “I Have a Rendezvous With Death.”
But the 35th president of the United States was a doting father and, at least once the children were born, a somewhat more attentive husband. He and Jackie did sleep in separate bedrooms that were connected by a walk-in closet, but by the beginning of 1963, she was pregnant again. Son Patrick died at 2 days old on Aug. 9, 1963. He had arrived five weeks early, also with underdeveloped lungs, like his big brother, but suffered from a more severe case of the breathing ailment that plagued John Jr.
Jackie spiraled into depression and spent four weeks cruising the Aegean Sea with her sister Lee Radziwill and Lee’s good friend, Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, who hosted the sisters on his 325-foot yacht, Christina. Onassis’ business had been the subject of criminal investigations in the U.S., so both the president and his attorney general, Bobby Kennedy, were familiar with him.
Bittersweetly, when Jackie returned to the U.S., knowing she needed to be by her husband’s side as his reelection campaign kicked into gear, the Kennedys became closer than perhaps ever before in their 10 years of marriage.