WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney was, uncharacteristically, terrified.
It was the fall of 1998, the height of Mr. Romney’s high-flying career as a private equity executive. But his wife, Ann, was not well. She was exhausted, and having difficulty walking; her right foot was dragging. When a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital arrived at a diagnosis — multiple sclerosis — “they just held each other in their arms,” their son Josh said, “and just cried.”
Thirty years earlier, in the spring of 1968, Mr. Romney, then a Mormon missionary in France, had a scare of a different sort. He was at the wheel of a tiny Citroën, cruising along a country road, when a Mercedes rounded a curve and crashed into his car, head on. One of his passengers — the wife of the French mission president — was killed. Mr. Romney, by all accounts not at fault, was knocked unconscious and mistakenly pronounced dead at the scene.