Former first lady Barbara Bush has been very unwell for some time, and on Monday, her family announced that she will not seek further treatment for her failing health. Doctors “will instead focus on comfort care” for 92-year-old Mrs. Bush, according to a statement issued by her husband, former President George H.W. Bush’s office in Houston.
“It will not surprise those who know her that Barbara Bush has been a rock in the face of her failing health, worrying not for herself — thanks to her abiding faith — but for others,” the statement said, as reported by the New York Times. “She is surrounded by a family she adores, and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving.”
Barbara’s two eldest sons, Former President George W. Bush and the former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, have both been to visit in recent days and were calling frequently on Sunday, according to source close to the family. Mrs. Bush has been a long-term sufferer of congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
In recent years, Barbara has required a walker and an oxygen tank, and has cut down on public appearances. Despite her ailing health, the former first lady has retained her warm character. In an update published in the alumni magazine of Smith College, she wrote, “I am still old and still in love with the man I married 72 years ago.”
Well-wishes have been pouring in from across the globe.
“She is more than a matriarch,” said Andrew H. Card Jr., who was transportation secretary during the first Bush administration and White House chief of staff for the second, according to the New York Times. “She was a greater conscience to her husband, to her sons, to her daughter and to those who had the benefit of being in her proximity. She was an unvarnished purveyor of the truth and motivated us all to be better people. And she was also contagious with love.”
United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, tweeted out her prayers for the former First Lady.
“Our country is better because of Barbara Bush,” she wrote.
Prayers going up for a woman of great faith, great strength, and an unwavering love of country. Our country is better because of former First Lady Barbara Bush ❤️🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/pewdIu2hjr
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) April 15, 2018
CBS News correspondent David Begnaud tweeted out a powerful quote from a speech Barbara delivered as part of the 1990 Wellesley College Commencement, which reads particularly poignant as she nears the end of her life:
“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent.”
There were more lighthearted tweets, too. Such as this one from CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski:
I don't have a personal anecdotal or story to share about Barbara Bush like a lot of reporters. But I will say she took one of the all time great White House photos with her and her dogs wearing matching tracksuits. pic.twitter.com/MpNWpFJH0c
— andrew kaczynski🤔 (@KFILE) April 16, 2018
Former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, also tweeted out her prayers.
My thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Barbara Bush and the Bush Family. God bless you, Mrs. Bush, and may he hold you in the palm of his hand.
— Condoleezza Rice (@CondoleezzaRice) April 16, 2018
As did Vice President Mike Pence.
Karen and I are praying for Barbara Bush and the entire Bush family tonight.
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) April 16, 2018
Texas Governor Greg Abbott called on Texans to lift up Barbara in prayer in an officially released statement.
“Barbara Bush has a character that is as big, inspiring and iconic as Texas,” the statement read. “Cecilia and I ask all Texans to join us in praying for Barbara and the entire Bush family during this time.” Abbott called Bush a “Texas legend.”
Here’s to Barbara Bush—an American icon and Texas legend. Our prayers are with you. pic.twitter.com/N7i5OJRPGw
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) April 15, 2018
Do lift up the Bush family in prayer during this difficult time.
(H/T: The New York Times)