Barbara Bush: True Grace

Personal Essays

I can’t let today, the day of Barbara Pierce Bush’s funeral, go by without sharing a few personal words about the enormity of her influence on so many, many people.

During my lifetime, George Bush Sr. has been my favorite president. I was hugely enamored with the family when George Bush served as Vice President and thrilled when President and Mrs. Bush stepped into the White House.

I probably can’t come up with anything that isn’t being said on every American news station, but I can say that, personally, Barbara Bush represented the best of what we hope to be as Americans. Sadly, in today’s White House, decorum, truth, manners and compromise have become extinct which makes me long for the transparency and morality of the Bush White House even more dramatically. I hope, in remembering Mrs. Bush’s grace and strength, current leaders (and citizens alike) will be reminded that life can be led with less pretention and more humility.

One of my favorite photographs of the Bush’s  ran in Life Magazine. I saw it flashed on this morning’s news. Apparently Mrs. Bush asked  photographer David Valdez, who documented many of their family memories, to stop by some morning around 6:00 AM.  The photo captures The Bush’s, clad in pajamas, in their king-sized bed along with six of their young grandchildren. Apparently, this was a typical morning as they often had their grandchildren with them whether in their home in Midland, Texas, The Vice-Presidential mansion or the White House itself.

Among many attributes, Mrs. Bush’s  fierce dedication to famiy will live on in my heart. She was wholly supportive of her husband, investing herself in his career and happiness which is a quality we need to revere in today’s society that can be critical of wives who choose to build homes and families rather than careers.

Mrs. Bush gave countless hours to her personal missions of service. Her lifetime was filled with energetic, compassionate giving. She will be remembered for her on-going foundation for family literacy but their are countless stories of quiet, heartfelt acts of kindness as well. She often supported populations in this country who were met with discrimination. She supported philanthropic groups who delt with homelessness and AIDS patients in the 1980’s, a time when both social problems were largely misunderstood.

Mrs. Bush’s family, friends and the country have suffered a  great loss. To a beautiful lady, completely authenic  – Thank you for your discretion, kindness, humor, values and inspiratioin. I hope every Amerian takes a moment to celebrate her life’s work.

Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat others.      – Barbara Pierce Bush