After a service at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, the former first lady will be laid to rest by loved ones on the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University in Houston, where Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush is also buried. The Texas A&M University student newspaper, The Battalion, also reported that the former first lady would be buried on the campus in College Station, Texas.
Six years before her own death at 92 on Tuesday, the former first lady heartbreakingly recalled her final months with Robin after the Bush family was told there was no treatment for their young daughter.
The doctor said, “You don’t do anything. She’s going to die,” the former first lady recalled in a 2012 Today show interview. “She said, ‘My advice is take her home, love her. In about two weeks she’ll be gone.’ ”
We were told to “…forget that Robin was sick, make her as comfortable as we could, love her — and let her gently slip away,” Bush also wrote in her 1994 memoir,. “She said this would happen very quickly.”
The Bushes nevertheless sought treatment for their then-only daughter, who went on to battle the blood cancer for seven months before dying on October 11, 1953, just two months shy of her fourth birthday.
In 2012, Bush recalled being with daughter when she died. “I was combing her hair and holding her hand,” Bush told Today. “I saw that little body, I saw her spirit go.”
Robin remained a strong and positive presence in her mother’s life through the years. “Robin to me is a joy. She’s like an angel to me, and she’s not a sadness or a sorrow,” the former first lady said in 2012.
USA Today reporter Susan Page, who is writing a new biography of Barbara Bush, spoke to the former first lady about Robin’s death last fall, The Washington Post reported.
“Sitting in her Houston living room, facing a portrait of her forever-young daughter, the tears were fresh,” the Post said.
“I think this was a very powerful tragedy in their lives,” Page said. “No mother would ever forget a child, but Robin has remained a real presence for them.”
Page said the loss “tested” Bush’s marriage to former President George H.W. Bush but ultimately “made it stronger.”
The experience also strengthened the bond between Bush and son George W. Bush, who was 7 at the time of his sister’s death.
In 1999, the former first lady told the Post about how a young George helped her heal after the tragedy.
“One day … she heard her son tell a friend that he couldn’t come out because he had to play with his mother, who was lonely. ‘I was thinking, Well, I’m being there for him,’ she recalled. ‘But the truth was he was being there for me.’ “
“That started my cure,” she wrote in her memoir. “I realized I was too much of a burden for a little 7-year-old boy to carry.”