Jenna Bush Hager paid a beautiful tribute to her late grandmother, Barbara Bush, on Today, Thursday, reading an emotional letter to the former first lady and updating well-wishers on how her grandfather, former President George H.W. Bush, is coping with his wife’s death.
The Today correspondent read the sweet message addressed directly to her grandmother, who died at 92 on Tuesday, saying, “You are our family’s rock, the glue that held us together.”
“I hope you know in your final days how many people prayed for you,” said Jenna. “How many people told me they loved you. People stopped me everywhere — in airports, on the street — and declared their love for you.”
Continued Jenna, “We called you the enforcer. It was because you were a force and you wrote the rules. Your rules were simple: treat everyone equally, don’t look down on anyone, use your voices for good, read all the great books.”
Jenna, 36, also opened up about her grandparents 73-year marriage, saying, “You and Gampy embodied unconditional love.” She added that she’ll pass the couple’s love letters down to her own children “so they know what true devotion looks like.”
The mom of two also revealed one of the former first lady’s “final emails” to her, that arrived with only “You” in the subject line.
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“In the body of the email you wrote, ‘I am watching you. I love you. Ganny.’ ”
After reading the end of the note, Jenna spoke to the Today co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, as well as Craig Melvin, from the phone, revealing that the Bush family is “doing well” in the wake of their loss.
“It”s a mixture of waves of great gratitude of life well lived… and also for the tributes that are pouring in,” Jenna said, adding, “and then of course pangs of sadness because she will be so dearly missed.”
Of her grandfather, Jenna told the hosts, “He misses her of course.”
“He loved her, he loves fiercely,” she added of the former president, “but because he loves so fiercely, I think in his own way, in his old age, he’s trying to be the one to make the jokes because he doesn’t want us to worry about him.”
In his first public statement since the former first lady’s passing, the former president said through his spokesman, Jim McGrath, on Wednesday: “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.
“But the truth is the outpouring of love and friendship being directed at The Enforcer is lifting us all up,” the 93-year-old continued. “We have faith she is heaven, and we know life will go on — as she would have it. So cross the Bushes off your worry list.”