On April 17th, 2018, former First Lady of the United States Barbara Bush passed away. She died only two days after the Bush family announced she would no longer be receiving medical treatment for her several illnesses.
The 92-year-old had been suffering from multiple disorders including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. Her husband, the 41st President of the United States George H.W. Bush, released a statement about her passing on Wednesday.
He wrote, "I always knew Barbara was the most beloved woman in the world, and in fact I used to tease her that I had a complex about that fact," he joked.
"But the truth is the outpouring of love and friendship being directed at The Enforcer is lifting us all up. We have faith she is in heaven, and we know life will go on—as she would have it. So cross the Bushes off your worry list," said the 93-year-old former president.
Bush's statement reflects the loving relationship he had with his wife. The couple was married for 73 years, which is longer than any other president and First Lady.
CNN published a love letter between the couple, which is displayed at the George H.W. Bush Library and Museum in College Station, Texas. The letter, which was written in 1943 while Bush was in the Navy during World War II, illustrates the love between Bush and his bride-to-be, the then-Miss Barbara Pierce.
The text of the handwritten letter is included below.
My darling Bar,
This should be a very easy letter to write — words should come easily and in short it should be simple for me to tell you how desperately happy I was to open the paper and see the announcement of our engagement, but somehow I can't possibly say all in a letter I should like to.
I love you, precious, with all my heart and to know that you love me means my life. How often I have thought about the immeasurable joy that will be ours some day. How lucky our children will be to have a mother like you.
As the days go by the time of our departure draws nearer. For a long time I had anxiously looked forward to the day when we would go aboard and set to sea. It seemed that obtaining that goal would be all I could desire for some time, but, Bar, you have changed all that. I cannot say that I do not want to go — for that would be a lie. We have been working for a long time with a single purpose in mind, to be so equipped that we could meet and defeat our enemy. I do want to go because it is my part, but now leaving presents itself not as an adventure but as a job which I hope will be over before long. Even now, with a good while between us and the sea, I am thinking of getting back. This may sound melodramatic, but if it does it is only my inadequacy to say what I mean. Bar, you have made my life full of everything I could ever dream of — my complete happiness should be a token of my love for you.
Wednesday is definitely the commissioning and I do hope you'll be there. I'll call Mum tomorrow about my plan. A lot of fellows put down their parents or wives and they aren't going so you could pass as a Mrs. — Just say you lost the invite and give your name. They'll check the list and you'll be in. How proud I'll be if you can come.
I'll tell you all about the latest flying developments later. We have so much to do and so little time to do it in. It is frightening at times. The seriousness of this thing is beginning to strike home. I have been made asst. gunnery officer and when Lt. Houle leaves I will be gunnery officer. I'm afraid I know very little about it but I am excited at having such a job. I'll tell you all about this later too.
The wind of late has been blowing like mad and our flying has been cut to a minimum. My plane, #2 now, is up at Quonset, having a camera installed. It is Bar #2 but purely in spirit since the Atlantic fleet won't let us have names on our planes.
Goodnite, my beautiful. Everytime I say beautiful you about kill me but you'll have to accept it —
I hope I get Thursday off — there's still a chance. All my love darling —
public fiancé as of 12/12/43
The Bushes met in 1941 at a school dance, when Barbara was just 16.
"I married the first man I ever kissed," she would often say. "When I tell this to my children, they just about throw up."
Prayers to the Bush family as they mourn the loss of an incredible woman. Franklin Graham shared his powerful prayer for the Bush family after her passing.