A Tribute to George H. W. Bush From His Son

Regardless of your political beliefs or leanings, we found this to be a timely and poignant message about love, life, and families.  It was published in the January/February 2019 AARP Bulletin:

A Tribute to George H. W. Bush From His Son

In December 2014, George W. Bush sat down with the AARP Bulletin and talked about his dad.  With the passing of George H. W. Bush late last year, his son’s words provide a warm look at a father’s wisdom.

On important lessons his father taught:

That unconditional love is liberating.  That life is to be lived to the fullest.  That defeat does not prevent victory.

On why he didn’t ask for advice while he was president:

Well, first of all, the best balm to the job is love, to hear his voice say, “Son, I love you.  I know what you’re going through.  Hang in there.  You’re doing a fine job.”

On visiting him in the hospital in 2012:

I told the girls we were going to stop by, but I don’t want Dad to see us weeping.  We weep a lot in our family.  And so we go in the ICU and Jenna and Barbara are rubbing his head, and he leans over and rubs Jenna’s stomach and says something along the lines of, “There is death and then there is the beauty of life.”  And Jenna was pregnant at the time, noticeably pregnant, and we wept.  It was a very sweet moment.

On coping with death and learning from setbacks:

You’re going to have setbacks.  The question is, how do they affect you?  In Dad’s case, it seemed to me that they made him stronger, more sympathetic, kinder.  I find it incredibly insightful that after the ’92 election, which stunned Dad a lot, he became very close to the man who beat him.  He was gracious and willing to reach out to Bill Clinton.  It’s an inspiring example of humility.