- NBC News
- Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush spoke about the passing of their grandfather, former President George H.W. Bush, in an interview on the “Today” show.
- Hager recalled a touching thing her 5-year-old daughter, Mila, said when Hager said it was sad her grandfather died right before the holidays.
- “Gampy had to get to Ganny so they could decorate their Christmas tree,” Mila told her mom, referring to the late Barbara Bush who died in April.
Jenna Bush Hager shared the heartwarming way her daughter helped her process the death of her grandfather, President George H.W. Bush.
In an interview on the “Today” show that aired Wednesday, Hager said after her grandfather passed on Friday, she made a comment to her husband that her five-year-old daughter overheard.
“When he passed away, I said to Henry – I didn’t think she could hear me – ‘Like, I just can’t believe this is happening right before Christmas,'” Hager recalled. “And Mila said, ‘Well of course it’s happening right before Christmas. Gampy had to get to Ganny so they could decorate their Christmas tree.'”
- NBC News
Mila was talking about her great-grandmother, former First Lady Barbara Bush, who died in April. George and Barbara Bush were married for 73 years, longer than any other presidential couple.
“And I thought, you know, from the mouth of babes, because they had never spent a Christmas apart. In their whole 73 years, 74 years,” Hager said. “So of course he wanted to be there. And she was probably like, ‘Come on, time to come home.'”
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What a gift that my girls got to know our Gampy. What an honor that we could name our Poppy after such a principled, humble, kind man who we all loved fiercely and who loved us back. I read this letter—he wrote us—with new eyes: Remember the old song? "I'll be there, ready when you are?" Well, I'll be there, ready when you are. And if you need me, I'm here. Devotedly, Dad."
Hager sat down for the interview with her twin sister Barbara, who was named after their grandmother.
When asked if Bush spoke about his life coming to a close, Barbara said her grandfather was “reflective” after his wife died in the spring.
“I asked him if his heart was broken, and he said ‘Yes.’ And he looked at me and said, ‘Do you think it will feel worse than this?’ And it just really got me,” Barbara said. “I mean, of course his heart was broken. He had lost the love of his life.”
She added that he would still always say he “couldn’t be better” and “lived as much as he could” in his final days.
The twins, who are the daughters of former President George W. Bush, said they knew this summer would likely be their grandfather’s last, and they made sure to make every moment with him count.
Knowing that their time with him was limited, Barbara decided to plan her wedding fast so that he could be there. The 37-year-old married actor Craig Coyne at the family’s home in Kennebunkport, Maine, on October 7.
On the day of her wedding, Barbara said her grandfather got dressed early so he could see her in her dress before she walked down the aisle.
She teared up as she recalled the special moment.
“One of the last things he said to me was that I never looked so beautiful,” Barbara said.
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Barbara is named for a unique and strong woman — and rightly so, because she is unique and strong. @laurawbush and I are so proud of our compassionate, daring, fierce, kind, intelligent, loving daughter. And we’re thrilled to welcome Craig Coyne to our family. ????: @paulmorsephoto
After his official state funeral in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, Bush’s remains will be taken back to Texas, where he will be buried on the grounds of his presidential library in College Station, next to his daughter and wife.
- Read more about George H.W. Bush:
- George W. Bush reveals the ‘profound’ moment he shared with his father when he entered the Oval Office for the first time as president
- George H.W. Bush, famous for his quirky socks, will be buried in a pair that commemorate his World War II service
- George H.W. Bush’s simple but profound life advice in 23 words