First lady Jane,
wife of the fourteenth
president of the United States,
did you know Hawthorne called you
"that death's head"?
lacking resilience,
prone to meloncholy and
deep depression.
They say you never recovered after
the train accident
stamped out the life of your last
surviving boy.
Three of three sons,
just as your husband
was to be sworn in.
Sources say you spent
almost two years
in the upstairs living quarters of the White House,
writing sad letters to
your dead boy.

They studied the
look on your face at intervals,
they took note of your repeated
refusal to perform first lady duties.
Their infinitesimal specks of
were extrapolated
into a narrative, history's
characterization of you.

I am sorry you
were on such public display,
inspected and
interpreted so severely.
I wonder how many
took the time to
the texture of your
love and your grief.
I wonder how lonely
you were.

How have you felt misunderstood, misinterpreted, judged by others, as you learn to live and cope with your grief and the absence of your child(ren)?  Who has made an effort to "understand", as much as is possible?