Barbara Bush shows grace until the end

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Former First Lady will pass with dignity, and legacy of firm love

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If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather that dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities. – Barbara Bush

We will miss this charitable, warm-hearted First Lady of the United States. Last weekend, Barbara Bush said she would forego further medical treatments and prepare for the end of her life. Even in death, there are lessons we can learn from her.

During her husband George H.W. Bush’s presidency, she was no lilting violet of a First Lady. She was “old school” — direct and firm. She was also a “mama bear” when critics leveled accusations at her son during his governorship and presidency.

Yet one gets the feeling she was equally, if not more, firm with her own family members, albeit in private. Her granddaughter Jenna remembers bringing brought to tears when she received a note taking her to task for showboating during a celebrity tennis match.

We also miss her son’s attempt to create a “Compassionate Conservatism,” which obviously came from his parents and their Christian core principles that say, “Yes, you DO try and help those less fortunate.” Just this weekend, U2 singer Bono praised the 43rd president for his work to support poor countries in Africa.

That’s a rare thought in today’s atmosphere of disengagement, fear of the other, “I-got-mine-ism” and our kill-or-be-killed politics (which has, unfortunately, filtered down even to our local level).

Even in her death, she has been strong in her faith, and not wanting to be a burden on her family. Mrs. Bush ends her life with grace, strength and class, three traits with which she lived it.

Dallas Morning News columnist Jaqueline Floyd summed it up this way: “In making that simple announcement that Mrs. Bush is ready to limit medical treatment to ‘comfort care,’ she and her family are offering a measure of comfort to all of us: This is life, too. This is acceptance.

“It’s just possible that Mrs. Bush, for all her directness (or maybe because of it) had a rare and uncanny ability to recognize what would matter most in that final stage long before she ever got there.”

This illustrates her grounding in reality, which seems so fleeting in our social media-fueled world.

Here’s another quote from Mrs. Bush: “Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people — your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.”

Yes, we will miss this woman, a symbol of class, dignity and uprightness. We wish her a peaceful exit from this life. – K.E.C.

 

Please note that Mrs. Bush passed away Tuesday afternoon following this editorial going to press.