In an interview that aired Wednesday on NBC’s Today, Jenna Bush Hager appeared with her sister Barbara Pierce Bush to discuss the passing of their grandfather, George H.W. Bush last week.
Hager, who has been candid about her close relationship with her late grandparents, recalled a special moment shared with her husband Henry and their 5 year old daughter, Mila, following the death of her grandfather. She said,
“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…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.'”
Obviously, Hager’s daughter was referring to former First Lady Barbara Bush who passed away in April. Hager spoke tearfully as she continued, reflecting on the long loving marriage between George and Barbara Bush, “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. 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’s sister Barbara, named after the late former First Lady, spoke as well, remembering a conversation she had shared with her grandfather following the death of his wife, “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,” She continued, “I mean, of course his heart was broken. He had lost the love of his life.”
Barbara also became tearful as she recalled this most recent summer, which the family had assumed would be the last for the 41st President, the precious time they spent with him, and how she had decided to quickly plan her wedding (to actor Craig Coyne) so that her grandfather would not miss it. She was married on October 7th at the family home in Kennebunkport, Maine, and her grandfather was there indeed. She says, “One of the last things he said to me was that I never looked so beautiful.”.