After four days of memorials and ceremonies in his honor, George H.W. Bush has been laid to rest at his Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas, on Thursday.
Following his second funeral service on Thursday morning, the former president was buried at the family gravesite beside his wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush, who died in April at the age of 92, and their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia in 1953 when she was only three.
Located on the campus of Texas A&M University, the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum houses Bush’s presidential archives and is also home to exhibitions dedicated to him and the former first lady.
Bush’s granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager takes comfort in the fact that the three of them have finally been reunited. “I had the opportunity to talk with my grandpa about the afterlife,” the Today show star, 37, captioned a touching tribute on Instagram. “This is what he said: He answered without any hesitation. ‘Yes, I think about it. I used to be afraid. I used to be afraid of dying. I used to worry about death. But now in some ways I look forward to it.’ And I started crying. I managed to choke out, ‘Well, why? What do you look forward to?’ ”
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In response, he said: “‘Well, when I die, I’m going to be reunited with these people that I’ve lost.’ And I asked who he hoped to see. He replied ‘I hope I see Robin, and I hope I see my mom.’”
Her grandfather went on to share that he didn’t know whether his daughter would still look like “the 3-year-old that she was, this chubby, vivacious child,” when they saw each other again, or whether she would be all grown up.
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George W. Bush expressed the same gratitude for their reunion during the emotional eulogy he delivered at his father’s state funeral on Wednesday. “Every day of his 73 years of marriage, dad taught us all what it means to be a great husband … He was dedicated to her totally,” the 43rd president reflected on his parents’ relationship.
Following the death of wife Barbara on April 17, Bush 41 remained devoted to his bride, sitting beside her casket for hours in his wheelchair as mourners paid their respects while she laid in repose one day before her invitation-only funeral.
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But the weight of her passing clearly took a toll on Bush, who was hospitalized less than 24 hours after burying his wife after contracting an infection that spread to his blood. He later recovered and traveled to the family’s beloved summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, in mid-May, but a week later was readmitted to the hospital for low blood pressure and fatigue.
In the days since the former president’s death last Friday at the age of 94, Washington and the rest of the country have come together to mourn his loss.
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His remains laid in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, followed by a state funeral at the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday. President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, as well as all living former presidents and their spouses — Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter — attended to pay their respects in person.
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Shortly after the service, George W. and wife Laura Bush as well as their extended family traveled back to Houston with Bush’s casket on Special Mission 41. Following the second funeral service, the casket was transported by train to Bush’s final resting place at College Station, where he rejoined his wife and daughter at last.
“We’re going to miss you,” George W. added during his eulogy. “So through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man … The best man a son or daughter could have … And in our grief, let us know that dad is hugging Robin and holding mom’s hand again.”