Delivered by Son Jeb Bush, April 21, 2018
'As I stand here today to share a few words about my mom, I feel her looming presence behind me.
'And I know exactly what she's thinking right now."Jeb, keep it short. Don't' drag this out. People have already heard enough remarks already and most of all, don't get weepy. Remember, I've spent decades laughing and living a life with these people!"
'And that is true.
'Barbara Bush filled our lives with laughter and joy and in the case of her family, she was our teacher and role model on how to live a life of purpose and meaning.
'On behalf of our family we want to thank the thousands and thousands of expressions of condolence and love for our precious mother.
'We want to thank mom's caregivers for their compassionate care in the last month's of her life. I want to thank Neil and Maria for their next door family love of our parents and thank John and Suzanne for their eloquent words.
'Meachum, it might have been a little long but it was beautiful. We want to thank Russ and Laura for their friendship and pastoral care of our parents and we want to thank all that are here to celebrate the life of Barbara Bush.
'It is appropriate to express gratitude because we learned to do that at a very early age.
'You see our mom was our first and most important teacher. "Sit up, look people in the eye, say please and thank you, do your homework, quit whining and stop complaining, eat your broccoli".
'Yes, Dad she said that .
'The little things we learned became habits and they led to bigger things like, be kind. Always tell the truth, Never disparage anyone. Serve others.
'Treat everyone as you would want to be treated and love your God with your heart and soul.
'What a blessing to have a teacher like that 24/7. Now to be clear, her students weren't perfect. That's an understatement.
'Mom got us through our difficult times with consistent, take-it-to-the-bank, unconditional but tough love.
'She called her style, a benevolent dictatorship. But honestly, it wasn't always benevolent.
'When our children got a little older, they would spend more time visiting their Gampy and Ganny.
'All it would take would be one week and when they came home, all of a sudden they were pitching in around the house. They didn't fight as much and they were actually nice to be with.
'I attribute this to the unbridled fear of the ganny lecture and the habit forming effects of better behavior taking hold even in her 90s, mom could strike fear into her grandchildren, nephews, nieces and her children, if someone didn't behave.
'There were no safe spaces or microaggressions allowed with Barbara Pierce Bush.
'But in the end, every grandchild knew their Ganny loved them. We learned a lot more from our mom and our Ganny. We learned not to take ourselves too seriously
'We learned that humor is a joy that should be shared some of my greatest memories are participating in our family dinners when mom would get into it, most of the time with George W, as you might imagine, and having us all laughing to tears.
'We learned to strive to be genuine and authentic by the best role model in the world.
'Her authentic, plastic pearls. Her not coloring her hair - by the way, she was beautiful till the day she died.
'Her hugging of an HIV aids patient at a time when her own mother wouldn't do it.
'Her standing by her man with a little rhyming poetry in the 1984 election. And a thousand other ways. Barbara Pierce Bush was real and that's people admired her and loved her so.
'Finally, our family has had front row seat for the most amazing love story.
'Through a multitude of moves, from New Haven to Odessa to Ventura, to Bakersfield, to Compton, to Midland, to Houston, to DC, to New York, to DC, to Beijing, to DC, to Houston, to DC, back to Houston and Kennebunkport, their love was a constant in our lives.
'My dad is a phenomenal letter writer and he would write mom on their wedding anniversaries which totalled an amazing 73 years.
'Here's one of them written on January 6, 1994.
"Will you marry me? Oops, I forgot we did that 49 years ago. I was very happy on that day in 1945 but I am even happier today .
"You have given me joy that few men know. You have made our boys into men by balling them out and then, right away, by loving them.
"You've helped Doro be the sweetest, greatest daughter in the whole wide world.
"I have climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara's husband.
"Mom used to tell me, "Now, George, don't walk ahead." Little did she know I was only trying to keep up, keep up with Barbara Pierce from Rye, New York.
"I love you."
'The last time mom went in to the hospital, I think Dad got sick on purpose so that he could be with her.
'That's my theory at least cause literally a day later he showed up with an illness, he came into a room when she was sleeping and held her hand, his hair was standing straight up, he was wearing a mask to improve his breathing, he was wearing a hospital gown, in other words, he looked like hell.
'Mom opened her eyes and said, "My God George, you are devastatingly handsome!"
'Every nurse, doctor, staffer had to run to the hallway because they all started crying.
'I hope you can see why we think our mom and our dad are teachers and models for our entire family and for many others.
'Finally, the last time I was with her, I asked her about dying. Was she ready to go? Was she sad? Without missing a beat, she said, "Jeb, I believe in Jesus and he is my savior.
"I don't want to leave your dad but I know I will be in a beautiful place."
'Mom, we look forward to being with you and Robyn and all of God's children.
'We love you.'
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