‘A diaphanous pink cloud of brain and bone matter burst out of the wound, raining on Jackie’s hair, face, and clothes’. She remembered the sound of a loud thump when the third bullet sent a hairy fragment of skull next to Jackie’s roses on the seat of the car.
At Parkland Hospital, ‘Ignoring a Niagara of blood, Jackie dropped to her knees and prayed’ while doctors performed a closed chest massage in an attempt to regulate the President’s breathing.
‘Every time Kennedy’s heart was compressed, a red geyser erupted from his skull and streamed down the right side of the table onto the floor’. Neurosurgeon Dr. Kemp Clark saw the mortal wound and stated, ‘We are through’. The President was dead.
Jackie kissed her husband’s toe, stomach and lips and then took off her blood-encrusted wedding ring and tried to put it on his baby finger but it would only go as far as the joint.
In a trance like state, Jackie later relived the event in detail to visitors in the presidential suite at Bethesda Naval Hospital while waiting for the autopsy. ‘Do you want to hear?’ she repeatedly asked before launching into the detailed description of the event.
She mistook the first shot for a car backfire and turned to look at her husband. ‘Then Jack turned back, so neatly. His expression was so neat. He had his hand out. I could see a piece of his skull coming off. It was flesh-colored, not white. He was holding out his hand. And I can see this perfectly clean piece detaching itself from his head. Then he slumped in my lap. His blood and his brains were in my lap’. She recalled the rose-pink ridges she saw on the inside of Jack’s skull.