The 41st president of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush, has passed away at the age of 94, as previously covered by the Inquisitr. His death follows just months behind that of his late wife, Barbara, who passed away on April 17 of this year. What some people do and some people don’t know about George Sr. is the death of his wife was not the first time the former POTUS was forced to say goodbye to someone very near and dear to his heart.
As The Washington Post reminds us, George and Barbara were forced to say goodbye to their eldest daughter, Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush, just shy of her fourth birthday on October 11, 1953, when the young girl lost her battle to leukemia.
Speaking with his wife Barbara to his granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hager, during an interview with TODAY, George Sr. revealed he believed his late daughter Robin was the first person he would see when he passed away.
During that same interview, Barbara explained she was combing their daughter’s hair and holding her hand when she witnessed Robin’s spirit leave her small body.
“I saw that little body, I saw her spirit go,” she recalled.
Decades later, when this interview took place in 2016, George Sr. and his wife Barbara still thought about their late daughter constantly. They were not, however, fixated on her in a sad or sorrowful way.
“Robin to me is a joy. She’s like an angel to me, and she’s not a sadness or a sorrow,” Barbara explained.
She also admitted to still being able to feel “those little fat arms around my neck.”
This is the portrait of Robin Bush, my mother Louise Altson painted for the Bush family many years ago. They stayed in touch with my Mom until her death in her 100th year. We have written a book on my Mom’s life and the correspondences from the wonderful compassionate family. pic.twitter.com/tueh5Dp5Hy— Jean Truax (@jakmartini) April 18, 2018
“Her advice was to tell no one, go home, forget that Robin was sick, make her as comfortable as we could, love her — and let her gently slip away,” Barbara penned in her 1994 memoir as she opened up about the abrupt diagnosis of their daughter and the months that followed.
As their granddaughter pointed out during the interview with TODAY, Robin was diagnosed with leukemia during a time when cancer came attached with a negative stigma. It was common for people, especially parents, to put distance between themselves and anyone carrying a cancer diagnosis. The negative stigma is why the doctor encouraged Barbara and George to take their daughter home and keep the diagnosis a secret.
George H.W., Barbara, and their late daughter Robin Bush are survived by a large family tree including their five other children, their 17 grandchildren, and their eight great-grandchildren.
Rest in peace George, Barbara, and Robin.