America is mourning the loss of one unforgettable first lady.
Barbara Bush has passed away this evening after it was announced that she decided to decline further medical treatment after consulting her family and doctors. She was 92.
A statement announcing the news was released by the office of George H.W. Bush via Twitter on Tuesday: “A former First Lady of the United States of America and relentless proponent of family literacy, Barbara Pierce Bush passed away Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at the age of 92. She is survived by her husband of 73 years, President George H. W Bush; five children and their spouses; 17 grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; and her brother, Scott Pierce. She was preceded in death by her second child, Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush, and her siblings Martha Rafferty and James R. Pierce.”
The statement ended, “The official funeral schedule will be announced as soon as is practical.”
While the news may still be a shock to some, those close to the former first lady were aware that her health was declining.
“Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors, Mrs. Bush, now age 92, has decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care,” a spokesperson for the Office of George H. W. Bush said in a statement posted on Twitter April 15. “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. She is surrounded by family she adores, and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving.”
Jenna Bush Hager echoed those sentiments on the Today show one day after the announcement was made.
“We are grateful for her. She’s the best grandma anyone could have ever had—or have,” she shared on NBC’s morning show. “She’s in great spirits and she’s a fighter. She’s an enforcer. She reminded me not to believe everything you read, so we’re grateful for her, for everybody’s prayers and thoughts and just know the world is better because she’s in it.”
While there are many attributes to admire during Barbara’s long life, many have developed fond memories of her relationship with her husband. After meeting George when she was just 16 at a Christmas dance, the pair would develop a relationship that would lead to a wedding on Jan. 6, 1945. And for those keeping track, that’s 73 years of marriage.
In the world of politics, Barbara served as Second Lady from 1981 to 1989 before becoming first lady of the United States when her husband won the Presidency.
During her time in the White House, she selected the promotion of literacy as her special cause. As first lady specifically, she called working for a more literate America the “most important issue we have.”
A strong advocate of volunteerism, Barbara also helped many causes–including the homeless, AIDS, the elderly and school volunteer programs.
As she got older, Barbara enjoyed family time in Houston while also serving on the Boards of AmeriCares and the Mayo Clinic. And while she may have unofficially earned the title of “everybody’s grandmother,” one quote from her continues to spread today.
“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,” she once shared at a Wellesley College commencement speech in 1990. “You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend or a parent.”
The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy established a page on its website for people to send their well wishes to the former first lady.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Bush family during this difficult time.