“Theirs was a love story for the ages.” That’s how Brian Mulroney, Canada’s former Prime Minister, described the relationship between President and Mrs. Reagan at her funeral last week.
To illustrate the depth of the love between the Reagans, he read excerpts from one of the many love letters written by Ronald Reagan to his wife. In that letter, President Reagan described facets of his wife’s character that he cherished.
“There’s another gal I love who is a nest builder. If she were stuck for three days in a hotel room, she’d manage to make it home sweet home,” he wrote. “I’m also crazy about the girl who goes to the ranch with me. If we’re tidying up the woods, she’s a pee-wee powerhouse… She’s a wonderful person to sit by the fire with, or to ride with, or just to be with when the sun goes down and the stars come out.
“Then there’s a sentimental baby I love whose eyes fill up so easily… and her laugh is like tinkling bells… Fortunately, all these women in my life are you. Fortunately for me that is, for there could be no life for me without you. Browning asked, ‘How do I love thee, let me count the ways…’ For me there is no way to count.”
Nancy Reagan published a book in 2002 entitled I Love You, Ronnie. In it, she shared many of the touching letters her husband had written to her over the years. In the preface, Mrs. Reagan acknowledged that she saved everything, from wedding clothes to baby shoes to countless photographs. But her reflections about the letters are profound: “the most precious thing of all has always been this collection of Ronnie’s letters.”
What woman wouldn’t cherish love letters that expressed her husband’s affection for her? But with the passing of years, the letters took on new significance. “I have always loved them. In recent years, as Alzheimer’s disease has gradually taken away Ronnie’s ability to write, to remember, these letters have become even more important to me. They bring back so many memories.”
What if President Reagan had lived in 2016? Would his loving words to his wife have all been sent as text messages? If so, she wouldn’t have had the comfort these letters provided as Alzheimer’s diminished his ability to communicate. And we wouldn’t have this beautiful glimpse into their extraordinary love.
Our words matter to those we love. And lasting, written words especially matter.
Be inspired by this beautiful example set by President Reagan. Take the time…today…to write a letter to someone you love.