George H.W. Bush wrote a touching letter about the daughter he lost
In a discussion about the afterlife, George H.W. Bush once told his granddaughter he would be reunited with the young daughter he lost to cancer, once he reached heaven.
The idea of that reunion has brought comfort to Jenna Bush Hager and so many others mourning the loss of the former president.
Bush passed away Friday at 94, preceded seven months in death by his wife, Barbara Bush. Many of their loved ones have spoken of about being consoled by the idea that the couple can finally connect with their daughter, Robin, the 3-year-old they lost to leukemia.
President and Mrs. Bush were deeply impacted by the death of their daughter Robin, who succumbed to leukemia at the age of three. For the rest of their lives, helping to fight cancer was one of the many great causes driving George and Barbara Bush. #remembering41pic.twitter.com/nQDJ1chijb
— Bush Library (@Bush41Library) December 1, 2018
"It is who he'll see first," Barbara Bush once told Jenna during a discussion about the young child.
After George H.W. Bush's death, his presidential library released various audio recordings of some of the letters Bush wrote to his family over the years. In one particularly touching letter, read by his wife, the president describes how their family welcomed the addition of their first girl — and how they felt her presence after she had died.
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"There is about our house a need. We need some soft blonde hair to offset those crew cuts. We need a doll house to stand firm against our forts and racquets and thousand baseball cards," Bush wrote. "We need someone who's afraid of frogs. We need a little one who can kiss without leaving egg or jam or gum. We need a girl."
Listen to Barbara Bush read #Bush41’s letter to his mother about their daughter Robin who died of leukemia at age 3. President Bush will be buried next to to his wife and daughter on Thursday. Another selection from “All The Best” ⬇️ #Remembering41pic.twitter.com/GzcC6y4rt3
— George & Barbara Bush Foundation (@BushFdn) December 2, 2018
"We had one once — she'd fight and cry and play and make her way, just like the rest. But there was about her a certain softness. She was patient. Her hugs were a just little less wiggly."
Bush wrote the letter during the summer of 1958, four years after Robin's death.
"But she is still with us. We need her and yet we have her. We can't touch her and yet we can feel her. We hope she'll stay in our house for a long, long time," Bush wrote, ending his note: "Love, Pop."
Among those who have paid tribute to Bush is editorial cartoonist Marshall Ramsey, who drew a picture of Bush reunited with loved ones amidst heavenly clouds.
This brought me such comfort this morning. I had the opportunity to talk with my grandpa about the afterlife. This is what he said: He answered without any hesitation. “Yes, I think about it. I used to be afraid. I used to be scared of dying. I used to worry about death. But now in some ways I look forward to it.” And I started crying. I managed to choke out, “Well, why? What do you look forward to?” And he said, “Well, when I die, I’m going to be reunited with these people that I’ve lost.” And I asked who he hoped to see. He replied, I hope I see Robin, and I hope I see my mom. I haven’t yet figured it out if it will be Robin as the three year old that she was, this kind of chubby, vivacious child or if she’ll come as a middle-aged woman, an older woman. And then he said, “I hope she’s the three-year-old.” Robin was the daughter this giant of a man lost years before to leukemia. The little girl he held tightly: who spoke the phrase I have heard Gampy repeat for my entire life, forever knitting Robin’s voice into the tightly woven fabric of our family: “I love you more than tongue can tell.”
A post shared by Jenna Bush Hager (@jennabhager) on Dec 1, 2018 at 4:21am PST
The cartoon shows Bush next to his World War II Navy plane, holding hands with Robin and Barbara, who tells him, "We waited for you."
Ramsey, the editorial cartoonist for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, also paid homage to Barbara after she died in April in a cartoon that showed the former first lady with open arms as her young daughter runs to embrace her.
The Bushes were "deeply impacted" by Robin's death, the presidential library confirmed in a tweet.
"For the rest of their lives, helping to fight cancer was one of the many great causes driving George and Barbara Bush," the Bush Foundation noted in a tweet that included a picture of the former president holding his daughter in his lap.