Earlier this week, former first lady Barbara Bush died at 92, shortly following an announcement that she would stop seeking medical treatment in favor of “comfort care.” In the wake of her passing, family members and those closest to Mrs. Bush have shed light on the political matriarch’s unshakeable Christian faith.
Speaking to The Houston Chronicle this week, Mrs. Bush’s personal pastor and family friend, Russell J. Levenson Jr., shared that she spent her final days and hours visiting with loved ones and being lifted up in prayer.
The former first lady, a lifelong Christian, was “physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually ready to leave this life for the next,” he said, adding that Bush died a “beautiful, peaceful, gentle death.”
Pastor Levenson said in the last few days of her life, Bush talked about reuniting with loved ones she had lost, including her parents and daughter Robin, who died of leukemia at the age of 3.
On Thursday morning, Barbara Bush’s granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hager, joined the chorus of tributes by sharing a heartfelt letter to her “Dearest Granny.” She begins by describing what it was like when her grandmother passed, including some of Barbara’s last words to her.
“When we lost you, we lost one of the greats. You were our family’s rock, the glue that held us together,” the letter began, as reported by Faith Family America. “I hope you know in your final days how many people prayed for you, how many people told me they loved you. It was like that my whole life – people stopped me everywhere – in airports, on the street and declared their love for you…It always felt good. We didn’t mind sharing you with the world.”
Some of Barbara Bush’s last words to her were “I am watching you. I love you,” Jenna shared. The loving message came from one of the final emails her grandmother sent to her.
“One of your final emails to me you wrote very little. The subject line read: YOU. In the body of the email you wrote: ‘I am watching you. I love you. Ganny.’ Well, Ganny we have spent our lives watching you,” she added.
After the former first lady drew her final breath, Mrs. Bush’s husband and former President George H.W. Bush asked Pastor Levenson to pray one more time with the couple in their west Houston home.
According to the Chronicle, the two went to Barbara’s bedside and “gave thanks again for her remarkable life.”
Levenson said he reminded Mr. Bush that his beloved wife of 73 years “is more alive than she has ever been.”
More than 1,500 people are expected to attend Barbara Bush’s funeral Saturday at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston. She will be buried next to her daughter at the family plot by her husband’s presidential library in College Station.