2 Jun 2009
I see the ghost of my dear Ronnie, says former U.S. First Lady Nancy Reagan
By Jacqui Goddard
Ronald Reagan's widow has told how she talks to the ex-President's spirit and even sees him at night.
Nancy Reagan, 87, said she still desperately misses her husband, who died five years ago this week aged 93 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
'It sounds strange but... I see Ronnie,' she said. 'At night, if I wake up, I think Ronnie's there and I start to talk to him. The fact is, I do think he's there. And I see him.'
Nancy Reagan, pictured in 1994 with husband Ronald, the former U.S. President, says his ghost frequently visits her at night and she 'speaks' to him
Speaking at her home in Bel Air, Los Angeles, she also told Vanity Fair magazine that she longs to be reunited with her husband of 52 years in the afterlife.
But she never contemplates giving up, she said, because 'Ronnie wouldn't like that'.
Nancy, seen here in 2005, is still struggling to come to terms with her husband's death five years on
The former First Lady admits she still struggles to cope with the loss of her long-term companion.
'I miss Ronnie a lot, an awful lot,' she admits. 'People say it gets better. No it does not.'
However, she added that evangelist and one-time presidential adviser Billy Graham, now 90, once assured her that she will see Mr Reagan again after her own death.
'I said to him, "Just tell me if I’m going to be with Ronnie again. Just tell me that and I’ll be OK." He said "You are" and I said "OK".'
Mrs Reagan, once nicknamed 'Dragon Lady' because of her demanding ways with staff and fierce protection of her husband, was frequently ridiculed during her White House years from 1981 to 1989 for her belief in the paranormal and reliance on astrological advice in planning the presidential diary and influencing policy.
In her 1989 memoirs, she admitted that astrology became her 'crutch' after the president was shot during an assassination attempt eight years earlier and told of how she consulted the stars and planets to help plan his schedule and security arrangements.
But President Barack Obama was forced to telephone her and apologise for poking fun at her beliefs when asked during a press conference last November whether he had consulted any ex-presidents for advice.
'I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any séances,' he quipped in reply.
Widowed: Nancy kisses the coffin of her late husband at his funeral in June 2004 in Washington
In the Vanity Fair interview, Mrs Reagan remains tight-lipped about President Obama’s apology, revealing only that she told him when he called that 'he’d gotten me mixed up with Hillary' and that she enjoyed a separate 45-minute telephone chat with First Lady Michelle Obama.
'I was very happy to talk to her. We had a nice conversation,' she says, noting that chief among her advice to Mrs Obama was a recommendation that she should hold plenty of parties at the White House.
Entertaining there is 'the easiest thing in the world,' she told Mrs Obama.
'You don’t have to do anything. Just have a good time and do a little business…that’s the way Washington works.'
Love-struck: The couple celebrate on Ronald's 89th birthday in 2000, four years before he died after losing his long battle with Alzheimer's disease