Song for the Blues
The "blues" is a form of music that tells of human suffering. As the saying goes, "You gotta pay the dues if you wanna sing the blues." In no other way than persevering the suffering of abandonment, separation, divorce, infidelity, loss, alcoholism, and prejudice could Jackie Kennedy, Bessie Smith, and Mahalia Jackson have inspired the powerful empathy of a nation. "We rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." This biblical scripture personifies the lives of Jack8ie Kennedy, Bessie Smith, and Mahalia Jackson. Through their own personal suffering, each of these women's lives "became all human sorrow." Their suffering and perseverance became the words for a nation's "song for the blues."
For instance, Jackie Kennedy's "song for the blues" started early in her childhood, with the divorce of her parents. She continued the suffering when she was forced to spend her childhood divided between her parents in New York City and Long Island. She was compelled to totally exclude her father from her life when her mother remarried and moved Jackie and her younger sister to Washington, D.C. Jackie's "song for the blues" began with the separation and divorce of her parents, but even as a young child she persevered and was hopeful for the future.
Jackie was optimistic as she entered womanhood. She graduated from George Washington University and accepted a job with a local newspaper as an "inquiring photographer." She began dating the handsome and aspiring Senator John F. Kennedy. Although their romance progressed slowly, they finally married in 1953. This was a time of happiness, of being in love, and of planning for the future.
However, this happiness would not last before suffering reentered Jackie's life. She continued her "song for the blues with a miscarriage. She soon rebounded from her loss with the birth of Caroline and then John Jr. The following years filled her with the pride and satisfaction of motherhood. Even her husband's reported infidelity was overlooked. But just as it seemed she had written the last line of her "song for the blues," she was bombarded with the two most unbearable sufferings a mother and wife would ever endure. Within months of each other, Jackie fought her ultimate battles: the loss of her child, and the loss of her husband. These great losses were compounded for they further resulted in the loss of her children's father, the loss of her home, the White House, and the loss of her lifestyle. Jackie's personal and private suffering was put on public display, and as Stanley Crouch wrote, "She became all human sorrow. She bore the weight of her husband's sudden and brutal death...