By all accounts, the past month has been most difficult on Romney’s wife, Ann, who friends said believed up until the end that ascending to the White House was their destiny. They said she has been crying in private and trying to get back to riding her horses.I don't know much about horses, but my maternal grandmother sure did. Well into her 90's, she would pick the Kentucky Derby winners with beyond-random-luck accuracy. Back in the day, she was an impressive rider. Not some delicate prancing-horse rider, mind you, but a young woman of spunk and moxie, riding with the hounds on the hunt. She wasn't the prototypical nice young lady sitting at home embroidering. She was out climbing on glaciers, hiking in the mountains of Europe, and riding spirited horses.
Despite a lifetime of arthritis and mysterious medical ailments that doctors could never diagnose or treat, she lived to be 94, sleeping with the window open in the cold Boston winters. In her last years, she cut back to 10 cigarettes a day after smoking Chesterfields for all the years I knew her, and many years before that. She never complained about her health; only about the rigors of medical tests to which her increasingly frail and osteoporotic body was subjected by doctors. They were curious to determine how, despite sleeping 2-3 hours a night at times, and running a near-constant Fever of Unknown Origin, she was still in such overall good health.
I have no idea about that. I do know, though, that a strong mental will and positive attitude seemed to play some role. When it became apparent that remaining in Nazi Germany during WWII was no longer a viable situation, she said goodbye to my grandfather, who came to the States to establish himself in a medical practice. Despite an MD (neurosurgery) and PhD in Greek Philosophy, he had to start at the bottom, taking his medical boards in English and getting a job before he could send for my mother and grandmother.
Back in Germany, my mother and grandmother packed countless black-listed books in with their household possessions to smuggle out of the country. Storm troopers inspected their packing crates as the weeks went by, looking for contraband. My plucky grandmother allowed them to play her beautiful grand piano, which she kept unpacked until the last days. Through her courage, hundreds of books by authors banned by the Nazis were saved and brought to America.
Next up: crossing the Atlantic on a risky voyage to America, braving stormy weather and mines rigged in major sealanes. My grandmother would have appreciated the saying:
"Attitude: the difference between ordeal and adventure".
Facing every challenge with guts, keeping her complaints to herself, and looking after others: this is the grandmother I recall from family stories and from my time with her.
One thing I also recall: her deep-seated superstitions about counting one's chickens before they'd hatched. Do not speak of things such as a pregnancy until it's far enough along to be obvious. Don't hint at some wished-for promotion you're sure will be yours, or some positive outcome to a medical test, or anything at all that you don't wish to put at risk through your hubris. Furthermore, if things don't go the way you wished, keep any disappointment to yourself and move on.
Ann Romney, you could take a page from my grandmother's book. I know that you thought you and Mitt had this thing wrapped up. The two of you lived in your hermetically sealed bubble, surrounding yourselves with "yes" people who told you what you wanted to hear. You couldn't believe the horrific indignities you suffered along the campaign trail, the humiliation of having to rely on the goodwill of the great unwashed masses of voters to grant you the privileges of
reigning over serving the American people.
You may not have won the grand prize you believed you deserved, Ann, but your parting gifts of a couple of several well appointed homes, hundreds of millions in amassed offshore wealth, a staff of domestic help to attend to your every need, and a dynastic family to carry on your legacy would be enough to console some folks.
If you still want to stay home and cry and bemoan your sad, sad fate, that's your business. My grandmother would frown on it, as would I and millions of hardworking people who got back on the horse that bucked them and rode off to their next adventure. They might even learn something about themselves in the process.