Abraham Lincoln’s Grief

According to  the Washington Post, Abraham Lincoln was destroyed by his son, Willie’s, death. “Upon first seeing his dead son, President Lincoln murmured, “My poor boy. He was too good for this earth. God has called him home. I know that he is much better off in heaven, but then we loved him so. It is hard, hard to have him die!” He buried his head in his hands, Keckley recalled, and his tall frame convulsed with emotion. “I stood at the foot of the bed, my eyes full of tears, looking at the man in silent, awe-stricken wonder,” she wrote. “His grief unnerved him, and made him a weak, passive child. I did not dream that his rugged nature could be so moved.” However, as a man that suffered many hardships throughout his life, he internalized much of his grief.

It was often noted that Lincoln had changed after the death of his son, but he did not openly grieve for his loss. He, “gave no outward sign of his trouble, but kept about his work the same as ever,” according to John Hay, a White House secretary.  In order to deal with his pain, Lincoln took this tragedy into stride and continued on with life as normal. Throwing himself into his work at the White House, rather than emotionally process yet another life-altering disaster.