WASHINGTON — To Barbara Bush, her grandfather, George H.W. Bush, was the "center of our family."
Bush told NBC News that she and her twin sister, Jenna Bush Hager, were "both heartbroken" by the death of their grandfather, 41st president of the United States George H. W. Bush.
“And yet, I think, I also get a lot of joy knowing that he's with our grandmother now,” said Barbara Bush, referring to her namesake, grandmother and former first lady, Barbara Bush, who died in April.
Her grandfather, she said, was heartbroken when his wife of 73 years died. Theirs was the longest marriage of any president and first lady in U.S. history.
“He was reflective about my grandmother and I asked him if his heart was broken and he said ‘yes’ and then he looked at me and he said, ‘do you think it will feel worse than this?’ and it just really got me,” Barbara Bush said. “Of course his heart was broken, he had lost the love of his life.”
Jenna Bush Hager said that her grandparents never spent a Christmas apart throughout their decades-long marriage.
When George H.W. Bush died, she recalled, she told her husband, Henry, in what she thought was out of earshot from her daughter, Mila, that she couldn’t believe the death happened right before Christmas.
Mila said: “Well, of course it’s happening right before Christmas. Gampy had to get to Ganny so they could decorate their Christmas tree.”
Asked how their father, former president George W. Bush, has been doing after his father’s death, Barbara Bush said: “He's okay. I think he gets a lot of peace knowing that my grandfather is with our grandmother, and that he was looking forward to being reunited with her.”
George W. Bush is scheduled to deliver the eulogy for his father. Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney and biographer Jon Meacham will also deliver eulogies for the 41st president. Former senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming, a close friend of the elder Bush, also is expected to speak.
George H. W. Bush, 94, died late Friday at his home in Houston after a battle with Vascular Parkinsonism.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: George H.W. Bush was the 'center of our family,' granddaughter Barbara Bush says