Jenna Bush Hager recalls the heartbreaking conversation she had with her late grandfather, former President George HW Bush, after the death of his wife Barbara, saying that in the end he couldn’t live without her.
The co-host of Today opened about her grandparents’ undying love for each other on Thursday’s show after she and Hoda Kotb shared a story about a 92-year-old man and an 82-year-old woman who got married after their husbands died.
“One of the most life-changing moments was when I was in Maine, the summer after my grandmother passed away with my grandpa,” said Jenna, 39,. ‘And we were just sitting at the dinner table and he said,’ Will I always miss her like this? ‘ Asked me!’
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Looking back: Jenna Bush Hager on the Today show recalled the heartbreaking conversation she had with her late grandfather George HW Bush after the death of his wife Barbara
Heartbreaking question: They spent the summer together in Maine when the former commander and chief asked Jenna, “Will I always miss her like this?”
And I said, “I don’t know, Gampy.” He didn’t live that much longer because I don’t think he could do without her, ”she admitted. “But I just thought that was such a beautiful thing, and also heartbreaking, because I couldn’t answer the question.”
George HW and Barbara were married in 1945 and were together for 73 years before passing away on April 17, 2018 at the age of 92. The former president died less than eight months later, on November 30, 2018, at the age of 94.
“A lot of people go through their lives and have nothing that even comes close,” Hoda said of the deep love Jenna’s grandparents had for each other. “They have love, but not like that, not the kind they can’t live without.”
In the book Pearls of Wisdom: Little Pieces of Advice (That Go a Long Way)Released earlier this year, George HW’s personal assistant Evan Sisley recalled how the former president and first lady were “ still playful and loved to fool each other even in their nineties. ”
Love Story: George HW and Barbara were married in 1945 and were together for 73 years before passing away on April 17, 2018
Look of love: George HW and Barbara are pictured with their son, Jenna’s father George W. Bush, when he was a child in 1955
He also shared an exchange the couple had the day before Barbara’s death.
“President Bush wanted to let her know that he understood she was dying and that she was going to be fine,” he explained. ‘He entered the living room and said,’ Bar, I’m not worried about you. She looked up at him from her chair where she was embroidering and said, “I’m not worried about you either, Georgie.”
‘Not a grand statement, but perfect. They have protected and committed each other for a lifetime. They were confident in their faith and they knew where the other was going. They just wanted to let each other know it was going to be okay. ‘
Last month, a few weeks before her grandfather’s two-year anniversary of death, Jenna became emotional when she opened up about the heartfelt letter the former president wrote to his successor, Democrat Bill Clinton, after losing the 1992 election as incumbent president.
‘[My grandfather] started this tradition where the outgoing president wrote a letter and left it on the desk of the Oval Office so that when the new president came on the first day he would open his desk and there it would be, ” a tearful Jenna said. the Today show.
Memories: Jenna and her twin sister Barbara spent a lot of time with their grandparents in the White House
Inspiration: Jenna said the conversation she had with her grandfather after her grandmother’s death was “ one of the most profound moments ” in her life
Heartbroken: The former president, pictured at Barbara’s funeral, died less than eight months later
George HW, who gave a gracious concession speech a day after his opponent was expected to win the election, told the Democratic challenger he would “root” for him.
The letter, in his handwriting, begins: “Dear Bill, when I just walked into this office, I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that too. I wish you good luck here. I have never felt the loneliness that some presidents have described.
“There will be very difficult times, made even more difficult by criticism that you may think is unfair. I’m not very good at giving advice; but don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course. ‘
George HW ended the message by lending Clinton his unwavering support during his presidency.
Warmly: Last month, Jenna recalled the letter her grandfather wrote to Bill Clinton that he left on the desk in the Oval Office so he could find it on inauguration day in 1993
Different time: In letter, George HW told Democratic-to-be president he was ‘rooting hard for him’
You will be our president if you read this note. I wish you the best. I wish your family the best, ”he said. ‘Your success is now the success of our country. I’m rooting for you. Good luck, George. ‘
After reading her grandfather’s words on Monday morning’s Today show, Jenna recalled seeing her grandfather’s heartbreak on election night.
“You couldn’t really see it at first,” she said. ‘I was in fourth grade, but there was excitement. And then all of a sudden my grandmother left the room to start embroidering, because I think it was obvious then he was going to lose, and he was devastated. He had worked very hard. He thought he wanted to finish the job.
“It wasn’t an easy night,” Jenna continued. His heart was broken, and for all of his little grandchildren who loved him, our hearts were broken. We sat in bed that night, knowing he wouldn’t get a second term. ‘
The two could have gone their separate ways, but the letter eventually sparked a bipartisan friendship between the former leaders.
“The joke is that everyone’s family has a black sheep, and President Clinton is our black sheep,” Jenna said, laughing. ‘[My grandfather] was a kind of surrogate father to him. ‘
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