Jenna Bush Hager gave an update on her grandmother’s condition Monday morning, a day after news broke that the former first lady, 92, is refusing further medical treatment to spend her remaining days at home with her family.
Hager said she and her twin sister spoke to Barbara Bush last night and that she is in ‘great spirits’ and resting comfortably at home in Houston, surrounded by loved ones.
‘She’s a fighter. She’s an enforcer,’ Hager told Today’s Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb from New Jersey, where she was reporting on another story for the morning show.
Jenna Bush Hager gave an update on her grandmother’s condition Monday morning, as she reported on a story from New Jersey for the Today show
Hager, right, said she spoke to her grandmother last night and she appears to be in ‘great spirits’
‘We’re grateful for her, for everybody’s prayers and thoughts, and just know the world is better because she’s in it,’ Hager added.
At one point, the former first daughter tripped up and spoke as if her grandmother had already passed.
‘We are grateful for her. She’s the best grandma anybody could have ever had — or have,’ Hager said, quickly correcting herself.
Hager appeared emotional during the interview, clearly struggling to fight back tears as she spoke about her beloved grandmother.
‘She’s with my grandpa, the man she’s loved for over 73 years. They are surrounded by family, but I think the fact that they’re together and that he still says, ‘I love you Barbie’ every night is pretty remarkable,’ Hager added.
A Bush family spokesman said Sunday night that the former first lady is in ‘failing health’ and won’t seek additional medical treatment.
Hager, left, is pictured above with her grandmother, former first lady Barbara Bush, right, in June 2015
Hager is pictured on the left with her grandmother, center, and twin sister, right, during a Christmas at the White House during George H.W. Bush’s four years in office
‘I’m not sure God will recognize me; I have so many new body parts!’: Barbara Bush talked about her health issues in latest issue of Smith College’s magazine
Barbara Bush talked about her health issues in the most recent issue of Smith College’s alumnae magazine.
In the Spring 2018 issue, the former first lady is pictured on a full page, sitting in the garden of her family’s Kennebunkport, Maine home last June.
When asked her secret to a long life, the 92-year-old said: ‘I have had great medical care and more operations than you would believe. I’m not sure God will recognize me; I have so many new body parts! Also, George Bush has given me the world. He is the best – thoughtful and loving.’
Bush dropped out of Smith College in 1944 to marry George H.W. Bush, but she was awarded an honorary degree in 1989 and the college lists her as a member of the Class of 1947.
In her life update, Bush said she is ‘still old and still in love with the man I married 72 years ago’.
‘I am very active in my foundation, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, as is George in his, Points of Life. All of our children are working and serving others in their own way, along with my 17 grandchildren. I am very proud of them,’ she said.
Bush’s children and grandchildren spent last fall helping with hurricane relief and cheering on the Astros in the World Series, the update says.
‘Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors, Mrs. Bush, now age 92, has decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care,’ spokesman Jim McGrath said Sunday in a news release.
McGrath did not elaborate as to the nature of Bush’s health problems. She has been treated for decades for Graves’ disease, which is a thyroid condition, had heart surgery in 2009 for a severe narrowing of her main heart valve and was hospitalized a year before that for surgery on a perforated ulcer.
‘It will not surprise those who know her that Barbara Bush has been a rock in the face of her failing health, worrying not for herself — thanks to her abiding faith — but for others,’ McGrath said. ‘She is surrounded by a family she adores, and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving.’
Bush, who is at home in Houston, is one of only two first ladies who was also the mother of a president. The other was Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, the nation’s second president, and mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president.
Bush married George H.W. Bush on January 6, 1945. They had six children and have been married longer than any presidential couple in American history.
Eight years after she and her husband left the White House, Mrs. Bush stood with her husband as their son George W. was sworn in as the 43rd president.
President Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement Sunday evening that ‘the President’s and first lady’s prayers are with all of the Bush family during this time.’
Bush is known for her white hair and her triple-strand fake pearl necklace.
Hager is pictured sitting next to her grandmother in bed in this family photo from 1987, taken at the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine
Her brown hair began to gray in the 1950s, while her three-year-old daughter Pauline, known to her family as Robin, underwent treatment for leukemia and eventually died in October 1953. She later said dyed hair didn’t look good on her and credited the color to the public’s perception of her as ‘everybody’s grandmother.’
Her pearls sparked a national fashion trend when she wore them to her husband’s inauguration in 1989. The pearls became synonymous with Bush, who later said she selected them to hide the wrinkles in her neck. The candid admission only bolstered her common sense and down-to-earth public image.
Her 93-year-old husband, the nation’s 41st president who served from 1989 to 1993, also has had health issues in recent years. In April 2017, he was hospitalized in Houston for two weeks for a mild case of pneumonia and chronic bronchitis. He was hospitalized months earlier, also for pneumonia. He has a form of Parkinson’s disease and uses a motorized scooter or a wheelchair for mobility.
Before being president, he served as a congressman, CIA director and Ronald Reagan’s vice president.
Barbara Pierce Bush was born June 8, 1925, in Rye, New York. Her father was the publisher of McCall’s and Redbook magazines. She and George H.W. Bush married when she was 19 and while he was a young naval aviator. After World War II, the Bushes moved to Texas where he went into the oil business.
Along with her memoirs, she’s the author of ‘C. Fred’s Story’ and ‘Millie’s Book,’ based on the lives of her dogs. Proceeds from the books benefited adult and family literacy programs. The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy began during her White House years with the goal of improving the lives of disadvantaged Americans by boosting literacy among parents and their children. The foundation partners with local programs and had awarded more than $40 million as of 2014 to create or expand more than 1,500 literacy programs nationwide.