— Eleanor Clift American journalist 1940
Context: It took her husband's long illness and her grace in caring for him to show her critics what she was made of. Rarely did she spend more than an hour or two away from him, and during the decade of his decline, she guarded his image, his legacy, and his dignity. As his cognitive powers slipped away, eldest son Michael reminded him that he used to be president. "How did I do?" Reagan replied, his characteristic humor and humility intact. In the 1994 letter to the American people in which the former president revealed his illness, he wrote, "I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience. When the time comes I am confident that with your help she will face it with faith and courage." In their life together, Ronald Reagan never worried about anything; Nancy worried about everything, carrying a burden few appreciated until the end. She didn't have his gift for storytelling, but she made sure all the parts were in place, and by honoring him, she was true to herself, a woman for all times.