William was unselfishly devoted to Ida’s care, despite the demands of the Presidency. The McKinleys broke White House protocol by sitting next to each other during state dinners, so that William would be near at hand to conceal Ida’s face with his napkin when he sensed her body growing rigid and a seizure coming on. He would then proceed with the meal as if nothing had happened.
This painting shows the tension between Ida and William
when he hears the tell-tale hissing sound she made when a seizure was
imminent. William was assassinated. As he lay dying, his thoughts went
to his wife and he implored his secretary: “Be careful how you tell
her — oh, be careful.”