As someone who continues to care for someone with Alzheimer’s, and has done so since 1995, I can only think that while sad, the President’s passing is a relief to Mrs. Reagan and his family. The toll of seeing such a great man succumb to a disease that does not discriminate, is a heavy burden. And whether it is your husband or father, mother or wife, there are times when it seems the weight of the world is on your shoulders. And while the President had shoulders broad enough to take on communism, to challenge the America people to reach their potential, and to look at the good no matter how small, rare is the individual who can shoulder the weight of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
My dad, who is currently in a nursing home, first came to this country during the 1950’s, and in many ways was the American that the President often spoke of. Hard working, independent, caring, and confident in his own convictions. Sadly, like the President in 1994, my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and like the President, he tried to put on a brave face for those of us around him. Seeing my dad’s struggles with the disease, and my experiences caring for him, have given me a deeper respect, and greater gratitude for not only the man who is my father, but also the man who was and will always be, my President. My dad always spoke of what a privilege it was to be in this country. I think it is safe to say that he would have said that it was a privilege to have as our President, Mr. Reagan.
I think we could all say that.
Paul Marc Oliu
Princeton, New Jersey