Jenna Bush Hager Tears Up on Today While Talking About ‘Love Letter’ to Her Late Grandparents
“All of my grandparents were prolific letter writers,” the former first daughter explained
"All of my grandparents were prolific letter writers," Hager, 38, explained on the show. "They wrote about their love, their heartbreak, about books that they had read. They wrote just to say I'm thinking about you."
Hager's book Everything Beautiful in Its Time — which she called a "love letter to them" — was published Tuesday and sees the former first daughter-turned-Today co-host continue her family's cherished tradition.
Within one year, Hager lost three of her grandparents when former First Lady Barbara Bush died in 2018, former President George H. W. Bush died in November 2018 and when Jenna Welch died in May 2019. (Her grandfather Harold Welch died in 1995.)
During the Today segment, Hager read passages from her new book — including a letter to her "Ganny" on her birthday, a toast she wrote to her twin sister, Barbara Pierce Bush on the night of the latter's wedding and letters to her own daughters, Mila, 7, and 5-year-old Poppy.
"It is my mama who taught me how to be a mom, but it is you, my darlings, who are teaching me what it means to be a mom," Hager writes to her girls. "When I hold you at night, singing the same songs your Grammy sang to me, I am filled with unconditional love."
Hager continues: "And I think about my strong mama, and my grandmas, and the women that came before, and I am so grateful you are mine. Just like those moments dancing, years ago, feet in rhythm to my mama's step, I'm following her lead again. And I'm dancing with the two of you as often as I can. Love, Mama."
Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie joked before the segment began that viewers would need at least "six tissues" before hearing Hager's story, but then co-host Hoda Kotb laughed after as the Today panel all held back tears and said, "That was seven tissues. You said six — it was seven!"
A tearful Hager explained the title of the book comes from a Bible passage that she read at her grandmother's funeral last year.
"It says that everything is beautiful in its time," she said. "And I think even grief is beautiful in some ways, because it means you loved the people enough to miss them and to care."