The Heartbreaking Reason Barbara Bush Never Feared Death

On April 17, 2018, former first lady Barbara Bush passed away at the age of 92. This came as no surprise since it was announced that she’d decided to stop treatment for her various illnesses, but the heartbreak around the country over losing such an influential first lady was still palpable.

But Barbara wasn’t afraid to live out the end of her days. In fact, there’s a heartbreaking reason she never feared death, and it’s one that some people may not know (see page 7).

First, her faith carried her through …

She never lost sight of her faith. | Bob Daemmrich/AFP/Getty Images

In a 2013 interview, Barbara talked about friends, family, and her faith, which was very important to her. During the interview, she said she had no fear of death.

“I’m a huge believer in a loving God,” she said, adding that she and her husband prayed together each night. “I have no fear of death, which is a huge comfort because we’re getting darn close … I know that there is a great God.”

Next: Bush lived a long, full life.

… and then there was the fact that she’d lived a rich life.

George and Barbara Bush with their children and grandchildren. | Newsmakers/Getty Images

There’s no denying that Barbara enjoyed a long, full life. She was married to her husband, President George Bush, for over 70 years, and she wrote several children’s books, enjoyed extensive travel, and raised children. In fact, she’s one of the only women in history to be both a wife and a mother to two U.S. presidents.

Next: But the real reason the former first lady didn’t dear death was much more tragic.

The worst imaginable loss

The Bushes endured a terrible loss at a young age. | AFP/Getty Images)

But despite her spiritual faith and life full of love, Barbara’s time in the world was also full of great sorrow. In fact, she and her husband endured the worst possible loss, one every parent dreads.

Next: This story is incredibly heartbreaking.

Losing their little girl

The Bushes lost their second-born child to leukemia. | AFP/Getty Images

Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush was Barbara and George’s second child. In 1953, when Robin was three, she complained about being tired. Unfortunately, they soon discovered she had leukemia … and it was terminal. The couple had two other children, future president George W. and Jeb, who was just a baby.

Next: The Bushes were told to take Robin home to die.

‘Make her comfortable and let her slip away’

The Bushes, 1956. | Newsmakers/Getty Images

According to an article in the Washington Post, Barbara said the doctor told her and George to “tell no one, go home, forget that Robin was sick, make her as comfortable as we could, love her — and let her gently slip away.” They were told that it would happen very quickly.

Next: The Bush family decided to fight for Robin’s life.

The move to New York

New York City in the 1950s. | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The day after getting the bad news, the family packed up and moved to New York, staying at the apartment of George H.W. Bush’s grandparents on Manhattan’s East Side, according to the Washington Post article. George’s uncle was a doctor at Sloan Kettering, a leading cancer center. Robin would then undergo several blood transfusions and bone marrow transplants, which sadly didn’t extend her life for very long. Barbara stayed by her daughter’s side the entire time.

Next: Robin’s tragic death.

Saying goodbye

Her daughter was never far from her mind. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Unfortunately, little Robin died that October, just before her fourth birthday. Barbara was with her at the time.

“I was combing her hair and holding her hand,” Barbara said. “I saw that little body, I saw her spirit go.”

But even many decades later, Robin continues to be on the minds of the Bush family.

Decades later, Robin continues to be on the minds of the Bushes, even more so in recent years, Bush said. “Robin to me is a joy. She’s like an angel to me, and she’s not a sadness or a sorrow,”  Barbara once said.

Next: Mother and daughter will be together at last.

Barbara will always be near Robin

George Bush was with Barbara when she died. | Al Bello/Getty Images

On April 18, it was announced that Barbara Bush would be buried near Robin on the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University in Houston. Since Barbara had already endured the worst imaginable pain, it makes sense that she’d have no fear of her own death. Also, sources say that George was by her side holding her hand when she died, helping her make her final transition.

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