Mrs. Bush had been in the news over the last week due to her surprising decision to refuse further treatment for her health issues. Last week, doctors advised the former First Lady that additional treatment might not prove helpful considering her weakened physical state. This led Mrs. Bush to choose comfort care instead of traditional treatment in the hospital for congestive heart failure.
The First Lady’s Last Day
The former First lady dealt with congestive heart failure as well as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) for quite a while. She was provided with a bed at Houston Methodist Hospital after breathing issues suffered this past Good Friday. Though the First Lady’s condition improved after the initial treatment, it had subsequently worsened.
Her last days were spent resting at her home in Houston, Texas surrounded by her family. Although on oxygen the entire time and very weak, she was reportedly able to visit with her 5 living children and 14 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.
At the time of her death, her husband, former President George H.W. Bush was with her. The Bush family spokesman, Jim McGrath, tweeted that the former president is obviously heart-broken by the death of his wife. “He held her hand all day today and was at her side when left this good earth.”
Jean Becker, chief of staff at the Office of George H. W. Bush, gave this update on the 41st President of the United States. pic.twitter.com/pjOKi3szVc
— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) April 18, 2018
The 41st President of the United States is battling a serious medical condition of his own, dealing with a form of Parkinson’s disease that has forced him to use a wheelchair.
The couple has been happily married for 73 years. Their daughter, Dorothy, and sons Jeb, Neil and Marvin had visited throughout the week. Jeb is somewhat famous as he served as the Governor of Florida from the late 1990s to 2007.
The Bush Family Statement
Last week, when the decision was made to stop further treatments, McGrath noted that the First Lady had been a “rock” while struggling with serious health problems over the past few years. Her concerns were not for herself but for others.
In an interview given just days ago, her son former President George W. Bush said his mother wholeheartedly believes in an afterlife and that she is not afraid of death because she is sure she is going to a better place.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been released by the family.
Barbara Bush’s Life and Legacy
Bush, the 37th First Lady of the United States, was born in Manhattan and raised in lovely Rye, New York. Born Barbara Pierce, she initially attended Rye Country Day School. She later transitioned to South Carolina’s Ashley Hall. She was only 16 years-old at the time.
Bush’s transition to South Carolina is notable as it caused her to cross paths with future husband George. The two met at a dance while on vacation from school. At the time, George was studying at the acclaimed Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.
The two were married within a year and a half’s time. Barbara dropped out of Smith College in order to marry her sweetie. They tied the knot while George was on leave from military service in World War II. The Bush family subsequently moved from New York to Midland, Texas and raised half a dozen children in the years to come.
Like the current first lady, Melania Trump, Mrs. Bush shied away from the spotlight during her husband’s political career. While publicly she downplayed her role in her husband’s success, she didn’t keep her political opinion to herself. In a 1992 interview she is quoted as saying, “You have to influence. When you’ve been married for 47 years, if you don’t have any influence, then I really think you’re in deep trouble.”
Mrs. Bush is often noted for her fierce loyalty to her husband and children. In an interview she once told a reporter that she did not allow people to speak ill of her son’s (former president George W.’s) political career “around her or behind her.” She also helped her son Jeb raise campaign funds for his 2016 bid for the Republican nomination for president.
It is particularly interesting to note Bush is the only woman to ever be married to a President and mother to another President. The former First lady was widely revered for her dedication to the promotion of literacy and numerous charitable endeavors. She established the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy while serving as the First Lady. Bush and her husband have raised over a billion dollars for various charities since exiting the White House.
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