Former First Lady Nancy Reagan passed away Sunday morning at the age of 94; regardless of your opinions of her or President Ronald Reagan, leaders of both conservative and liberal movements in this country have noted her passing with a great deal of respect and sadness.
I’ve always found it interesting that both of their children — Patti Davis and Ron Reagan Jr. — are liberals; Reagan’s adopted son Michael is in crazy conservative land and I had the change to interview Reagan’s daughter, Maureen, from his first marriage to actress Jane Wyman, years ago.
Politics aside, the Reagans were fiercely devoted to each other and had an exceptional marriage. One of my friends in Irvine (a Republican I won’t name because he doesn’t need the grief), actually worked for Reagan in Los Angeles after President Reagan retired. When my friend and his wife were married, they received a wonderful letter written by President Reagan extolling the virtues of marriage by recounting how his own life was enriched by his own marriage to Nancy and how his love for her grew daily. While the letter is typewritten, there’s no mistaking Reagan’s voice and its sincerity. And as someone who has been lucky in marriage, the letter is a wonderful read for those who want a long and happy marriage.
And while children of the 1960s and 70s took an opposite political position to their parents political beliefs, as Patti Davis and Ronald Reagan Jr. did, when it comes to losing a parent, there’s still an emotional cost.
Ms.Davis wrote this tribute to her mother on her blog yesterday.
“My mother had been in poor health for quite a while, and recently had gotten markedly worse, so this wasn’t a surprise. That said, death always feels like a surprise. I appreciate the attention and prayers of people I will probably never meet. Just as when my father died, there is comfort in feeling surrounded by gentle thoughts and kind wishes, often sent out by strangers. And just as when my father died, we will honor my mother publicly — stand on the public stage and share as much as we can. Then, when that is completed, we’ll draw the circle in a little tighter and deal with the often complicated map of personal loss.
I wish I could thank individually everyone who has sent out messages on social media. I can’t, so I’m hoping they will read this and know how grateful I am.”