Chances are that if you're one of my journal friends you're probably pretty liberal and not the biggest Reagan fan, but my parents were friends of the Reagans. My Godmother was one of Nancy's best friends, and my Godfather was our Ambassador to the Vatican.
I met Nancy a few times and I met President Reagan once and he was so sweetly charismatic that I threw my arms around him when I was introduced. Nancy blanched, I embarrassed my Godmother and my parents never let me live it down. Pawing the president might be fine for common people but "we" don't behave that way.
I have it on very, very, good authority that President Reagan is about to pass away. I can't say how I know this but there are newspeople wearing pagers and checking their cell phones tonight and the television news departments are dusting off their B rolls while they get their tributes ready.
President Reagan has the same disease that my father had, he was only six months younger than dad. For some reason everyone seems to think he's ninety but we know he's ninety-three or four at the youngest. Alzheimers is heartbreaking for the family members of the people who have it. It robs people of their dignity and it is a long, slow, miserable death.
My once proud strong father became this weak, crumbled, hallucinating, infant-like man who had to wear diapers and be fed pureed food by his nurse. He would never have wanted to end his life that way, he would have killed himself, (he actually tried), before allowing this to happen to him, but because it happens by slow degrees and completely robs you of your strength and sanity, he succumbed to it.
My dad suffered through several episodes of pneumonia and was hospitalized so many times before the last time when his nurse called me in the middle of the night and I rushed to meet the ambulance and his body just decided to give up. He didn't want to be kept alive by any artificial means so there was nothing we could do but wait for him to die. I sat by his bedside in the hospital while his hands and feet turned purple. I kissed them, I massaged them. I told him how much I loved him and that if he needed to go that we would understand and that I would take care of my mother for him. I imagine this is what is happening to Ronald Reagan tonight. I feel sorry for him and for his family.