Patti Davis gave a touching, funny and at times frank eulogy for her mother Nancy Reagan during her funeral services on Friday.
‘It’s no secret that my mother and I had a challenging and often contentious relationship,’ said Davis.
‘When I was a child, I imagined having warm comfortable conversations with her, the kind of conversations that feel like lamp light. The reality was far different.
‘I tried her patience and she intimidated me. We were never mild with one another. Whether we were distant and angry or bonded and close, our emotions burned up the color chart.
‘Nothing was ever gray, but there were moments in our history when all that was going on between us was love. ‘
Davis later said when she needed her mother most she was always there for her, citing a time when as a teenager she ended a relationship with an older man.
She also spoke of how much love her mother and father had for one another, saying; ‘My parents were two halves of a circle, closed tight on a world where their love for each other was the only sustenance they needed.’
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Remembering: Patti Davis delivered one of the eulogies at her mother’s funeral service on Friday
Memories: Ron Reagan Jr. laughs while hsi siter shares a story during the eulogy
‘I choose to remember my mother framed by the window of a New York hotel room as I told her that I’d been involved in a complicated relationship for two years and had now been cruelly tossed aside. I was 19,’ said Davis when speaking about her teenage relationship.
‘I felt older and more wounded than any 19-year-old should feel. I needed a mother and I came to mine. Holding out a fragile hope that she would keep me from crumbling beyond recognition.
‘She did. She didn’t judge me. She wasn’t punishing or accusatory. She was tender and understanding and loving.’
Davis also used the eulogy to share a funny story about her mother and father, a story she said she and her mother had been talking about just days before her death.
It was the last time Davis heard her mother laugh she said at the funeral.
President Reagan received massages from a large Eastern-European man, and Davis said; On one of these days, as my father lay face down on the table, my mother tiptoed in, kissed him lightly on the back of his neck, and tiptoed out.’
Davis went on to say that after the massage President Reagan told his wife; ‘I don’t think we can have him back anymore.’
That is when his wife informed him what had happened, much to his relief.
She also shared a story about her mother’s work to pass stem-cell research, and how Karl Rove work to undermine her.
‘I found her very busy making phone calls to elected officials,’ said David.
‘She gave me a somber look. “Well,” she said in a calm tone, “Karl Rove is dogging my phone calls. Every one I call, he calls right after and tries to get them to oppose stem cell legislation.”‘
Davis said she asked her mother oif maybe her phone was being tapped and if she should check with the Secret Service, which her mother informed her she had already done.
Her mother then told her in a calm tone; ‘There’s no time to get upset, there’s work to get done, I can’t get distracted.’
Davis then joked; ‘Even people who never met my mother will know the word zen has never been applied to Nancy Reagan.’
Together: Patti and her brother Ron prepare to pay their final farewells to their mother
Back in the day: Ronald Reagan at home in Pacific Palisades with his wife Nancy Davis and their two children
Her father’s death was also difficult on her mother Davis revealed, but Reagan soon found some comfort.
‘In the weeks after he died, my mother thought she heard his footsteps coming down the hall late at night. She said he would appear to her long after midnight sitting on the edge of the bed,’ said Davis.
‘I don’t know anything about the possible passages between this world and the next, but I do know her faith in these visits eased some of her loneliness. They made her feel that he was close by.’
She closed by recalling a fond moment between her mother and her father she witnessed as a teenager.
‘I choose to remember walking with her along the beach. Somehow the ocean always calmed the air between us and allowed us to be easy with each other,’ said Davis.
‘Most of all, I will remember looking out the window to the sweep of sunset and seeing my parents sitting together on the sand.
‘Maybe on the other side there are endless shores and eternally brilliant sunsets. Maybe it’s possible to sit there forever, undisturbed, two souls only needing each other.
‘Robert Sexton wrote, “Across the years I will walk with you. In deep green forests. On shores of sand. And when our time on earth is through, in heaven too you will have my hand.”‘
‘I hope for my parents that those words don’t live only in the poet’s imagination but are a map to what they both longed for and believed in in the world beyond this one.’
The couple’s son Ron spoke after his sister, saying; ‘There would be no Ronald Reagan Presidential Library without President Ronald Reagan.
‘And there likely would not have been a President Ronald Reagan without Nancy Reagan.’
Davis, 63, was never shy when it came to speaking about her difficult relationship with her mother and even wrote a book about her childhood and early years, The Way I See It.
The book, released in 1992, painted her mother as a remarkably cruel woman and her father as a man who emotionally abandoned his children.
Davis also wrote that her mother relied heavily on sleeping and prescription pills during her years in the White House despite her ‘Just Say No’ campaign.
Reagan was also accused of hiding her husband’s two children from his first marriage from Davis and her brother in their childhood years.
She reportedly received a $500,000 advance for the book, which her parents responded to by releasing a statement saying; ‘We have always loved all of our children, including our daughter, Patti. We hope the day will come when she rejoins our family. Toward that end, we see no useful purpose for further comment.’
Davis also did not make her mother very pleased when she posed naked for Playgirl in a 1994 issue of the magazine.