Mary Todd Lincoln In Collective Memory

KansasFreestater

1st Lieutenant
This very interesting article came out today. A physician and medical historian believes that Mary may have suffered from pernicious anemia:

"Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disease that starts in the stomach and that impairs the body's ability to absorb food efficiently," Sotos said. "And as a result, the person becomes B12 deficient eventually, and that causes lots of problems in every organ of the body."

It was a fatal illness until treatment was discovered decades after her death. The disease can lead to many of the symptoms exhibited by Mary Todd Lincoln: a sore mouth, pale skin, difficulty walking and psychiatric problems. It can also cause swelling.

"The puffiness is not in a way that would occur with just an accumulation of fat," Sotos said.
Read the rest here.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
" She had a sick brain and was doing the best that she could in a very complicated, relentlessly demanding environment," Sotos said. "And I think to have done as well as she did with the kind of handicaps that she had, I think that deserves admiration." "

* Sigh * . Yes but it is sweeping statements like this which invite conjecture in the first place. Having lost three children and had her husband's brains decorating her gown one awful April night in 1865- she sure had no support. Lincoln's funeral went on while Mary lay in bed, shocked beyond pain. Alone. Wholeeee nation out there rending its collective garment, gnashing a bunch of teeth, anyone go check on his widow? Nope. Second Lincoln was dead Herndon attacked, Keckely little better, Congress threw her under the bus hard and remaining son Robert? Reversed the bus, drove back over her.

Mary Todd Lincoln still deserves an apology from Congress- not these professionals endlessly applying speculation to myth. Her life, looked at through events shows a woman who would have had to have been a sociopath had she been able to successfully absorb any single one of the tragedies, shocks and attacks sustained. History for some reason hands her the job of sociopath ' or else '- pretty unfair. The normally functioning psyche simply cannot take that kind of battering- it does not make us crazy. Or inherently sick to begin with- and only a sociopathic personality which comes with an inability to be empathetic or feel the pain which flattens most of us could have sustained her blows and carried on- like we still insist she should have.
 

Bee

Captain
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Mary's shopping addiction was quite real, to this day it is judged, not understood. " Oh that awful Mary Lincoln, running into debt, buying dress after dress, what a terrible person. " I say, like water from a damaged dam, pain finds a way to leak out of us.

I believe that there is a lot to be said for this observation. If Mary had been wailing and gnashing, people would have probably nodded their heads and easily empathized with her as a person overcome by grief. Instead, the grief remained bottled up and buried, only to reveal itself in ways that no longer identified itself as grief. As a person who worked in the mortuary business far too long, I saw this manifestation of deflected grief more often with the loss of children.
 

KansasFreestater

1st Lieutenant
" She had a sick brain and was doing the best that she could in a very complicated, relentlessly demanding environment," Sotos said. "And I think to have done as well as she did with the kind of handicaps that she had, I think that deserves admiration." "

* Sigh * . Yes but it is sweeping statements like this which invite conjecture in the first place. Having lost three children and had her husband's brains decorating her gown one awful April night in 1865- she sure had no support. Lincoln's funeral went on while Mary lay in bed, shocked beyond pain. Alone. Wholeeee nation out there rending its collective garment, gnashing a bunch of teeth, anyone go check on his widow? Nope. Second Lincoln was dead Herndon attacked, Keckely little better, Congress threw her under the bus hard and remaining son Robert? Reversed the bus, drove back over her.

Mary Todd Lincoln still deserves an apology from Congress- not these professionals endlessly applying speculation to myth. Her life, looked at through events shows a woman who would have had to have been a sociopath had she been able to successfully absorb any single one of the tragedies, shocks and attacks sustained. History for some reason hands her the job of sociopath ' or else '- pretty unfair. The normally functioning psyche simply cannot take that kind of battering- it does not make us crazy. Or inherently sick to begin with- and only a sociopathic personality which comes with an inability to be empathetic or feel the pain which flattens most of us could have sustained her blows and carried on- like we still insist she should have.
I don't think it's an insult to Mary Lincoln to offer the idea -- especially if there's reasonable evidence -- that she might have been suffering an undiagnosed ailment. If anything, it increases my sympathy for her and my respect for how she endured.
 
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