Inspirational stories that will motivate You to be good

With Hope, Strength

The procession to the rotunda. I will never forget it. Lileks wrote his impressions of it, but I do not entirely agree with his assessment of Nancy Reagan.

I never thought her a cold, brittle woman. I always thought of her as a classically reserved and graceful lady. I thought her elegant and poised as a lady should be. Perhaps I could see it, because I ws reared by just such a woman in the form of my grandmother.

Nancy, I've always felt, is a Real Woman. She isn't some shrill shrewish manling like other former First Ladies I could name. Instead, Nancy was always quiet, and softspoken, but nevertheless forthright and honest. Nancy ws the sort of lady who could tell you to eat excrement and die, and you'd walk away feeling like she'd offered you a glorious luncheon.

Where Ronald Reagan was the embodiment of Hope, Nancy is the embodiment of Strength.

I saw it in her face again, yesterday, during the ceremonies.

When she stepped out, I thought, "Goddess, she looks so thin and tired!" For a moment, I thought she looked frail, and I was afraid for her. Then the cameras zoomed in on her face. Where she was weary, inexpressibly so, I saw the same strength and poise I've always recognized in her face, and once again I loved her for it.

I was standing. The cameras moved to the courtyard, where our Servicemen made ready to lift the coffin and begin the long procession to the rotunda. The cameras switched back to Nancy's face while she stood there wrapped in her solitude and memory.

Her gaze was far-off just then, with the barest hint of an affectionate smile playing about her lips. Was she remembering some long-ago day? Perhaps she was seeing him in her mind's eye, watching him mount those very steps with his long, energetic stride. Maybe she was remembering some conversaton they'd had, strolling along the promenade.

Whatever she thought, she wasn't alone. His presence around her was a palpable thing, and that's when I began to cry. I cried because I have that sort of partnership with my husband: soul mates. It's such an overused term these days, but nonetheless true for Nancy and Ronald Reagan. I wept because finding the strength to go on after such a leavetaking can be very, very hard, and I could intuit the loss she feels. I have no doubt that Nancy will go on, and that was part of my grief: after so long and so profoundly Together, it can be physical agony to be separated fron your bona fide Other Half.

Yet, she stood there, calm and dignified; wrapped in memory. I stood, tears flowing, unwilling to sit until he had finished his journey, and she did. I felt that it was the least I could do, in my living room, thousands of miles away, to show my gratitude and respect for the Great Man and The First Lady.

She reached out with an almost affectionate pat when the pallbearers got him to the top of the steps, as if to say, "You're almost there. Everyone's waiting on you." I covered my heart with my hand, and did not move until he was at rest in the rotunda, under the eagle gaze of his guards.

When she finally sat, I did too, and drew my daughter into my arms. She's too young to ever remember our farewell to Ronald Reagan, but I shall never forget it. May I be as graceful under pressure, as forthright, and as unblinking as Nancy Reagan. May I be as dignified in the face of friends and foes alike. I pray that I will be as integral a partner, and as loving and firm a mother, as she.

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your husband with us. You were his Strength, and he was our Hope. We will never forget him, and are forever grateful to you.