Fonticulus Fides

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

’Til Death Do Us Part…

When we were married and said these vows to each other, my husband and I weren’t thinking about the end of our marriage, but the beginning. We were – and still are -- concerned with how we would grow together more completely, be one more completely. That’s just how it is. At the wedding, you don’t think about what happens when the two-who-have-become-one are parted by death.

I just saw a photograph of Nancy Reagan leaning her cheek against her husband’s flag-draped casket. They had one of those powerful unions that I’ve blogged about before – like my paternal grandparents, like Johnny and June Carter Cash.

But as Mrs. Reagan once said, the Reagans experienced a "very long good-bye." In this last decade, Alzheimer’s robbed them of the joys of their great love. Nancy still loved her Ronnie, to be sure, but he was locked away in confusion and lost memories. How difficult and painful it must have been for her.

In the end, though, the grace of God prevailed. The Reagans’ daughter Patti Davis recounts her father’s last moments in a magazine article quoted on today:

"At the last moment, when his breathing told us this was it, he opened his eyes and looked straight at my mother. Eyes that hadn't opened for days did, and they weren't chalky or vague. They were clear and blue and full of love."

I am so glad for Mrs. Reagan. Her beloved husband came back to her one last time to show her that their love had survived his terrible disease.

And now the grieving process begins. I know the family will at times find comfort in the fact that Mr. Reagan is now free from Alzheimer’s oppressive grip, but his absence will still be keenly felt. For Mrs. Reagan in particular, despite the years of foreshadowing, she must feel absolutely split in two. The oneness she was part of is over forever. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain of that.

I pray that God will bless her and her family, and that He will grant Mr. Reagan himself rest and peace.



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