Even in his final moments, former President George H.W. Bush was filled with love for his family.
Shortly before his death, while Bush was surrounded by a few friends and family members at his Houston home, his son George W. Bush was put on speaker phone to share one last moment with his father, according to an interview with James A. Baker III, Bush’s friend and former chief of staff and secretary of state, published by the New York Times.
Telling his father what a “wonderful” dad he had been and that he loved him, the late president told his son in what would be his final words, “I love you, too,” Baker shared with the Times.
“I can’t even hardly talk about it without welling up,” Mr. Baker told the Times. “It was as gentle a passing as I think you could ever expect anyone to have. And he was ready.”
Joining Baker were his wife Susan and some members of Bush’s family, including son Neil Bush, as well as his wife Maria and their son Pierce. His granddaughter Marshall Bush was also present, as was the former president’s former chief of staff Jean Becker and the Rev. Dr. Russell Jones Levenson Jr.
Although Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years, had passed away in April, Bush told his friends that he wasn’t ready to pass on yet — he wanted to make it back to the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Main for one last summer, according to the Times.
Despite being hospitalized within 24 hours after his wife’s funeral, Bush did make it back to Maine for the summer, but a week later was readmitted to the hospital for low blood pressure and fatigue.
However, following his return to Houston this fall, “things sort of went downhill from there,” Baker told the Times.
While spending his final days in bed, Bush received a visit from former President Barack Obama, who stopped by on Tuesday while in town for an event, according to the Times.
By Thursday, Bush had stopped eating, but told his caregivers that he did not want to be hospitalized, the Times reported.
According to Baker, Bush began eating again on Friday — consuming one of his favorite dishes, three soft-boiled eggs, as well as some yogurt and two fruit drinks — but he died just hours later.
“Everybody thought this is going to be a great day and he’s back and he’s bounced back again,” Baker remarked.
On Friday, moments after Bush’s passing was announced, former President George W. Bush shared a heartwarming tribute to his father and to his parents’ love on Instagram.
“Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died,” George W. Bush captioned a poignant photo, which shows his late father walking arm and arm with his wife former First Lady Barbara Bush.
“George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for the 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens,” he added.