In a move that is said to be characteristic of her, former first lady Barbara Bush, 92, who has been hospitalized several times recently for a series of medical problems, has decided “after consulting her family and doctors” that she will not seek additional medical treatment and, instead, focus on comfort care at her home in Houston, the Bush family said in a statement released Sunday.
“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,” said the one-paragraph statement released by the office of George H.W. Bush. “She is surrounded by a family she adores, and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving.”
She has been hospitalized multiple times this year in connection with a variety of health challenges, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, and congestive heart failure, CNN is reporting.
Shortly after the Bush family released its statement, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called on the state to pray for the entire Bush family. “Barbara Bush has a character that is as big, inspiring and iconic as Texas,” Abbott said in a statement. “Cecilia and I ask all Texans to join us in praying for Barbara and the entire Bush family during this time.”
Barbara Bush has been married to George H.W. Bush for 73 years. She is the 37th first lady of the United States and is the mother of former President George W. Bush as well as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in addition to four other children. She is only one of two first ladies in U.S. history who was also the mother of another president. The other first lady was Abigail Adams. Barbara Pierce was born in New York and met her future husband at age 16. The two were married in 1945, while George H.W. Bush was on leave as a Naval officer in World War II.
Shortly after they were married, the two moved to first to Odessa and later to Midland, where George began his career as an oilman. They later moved to Houston, where he began his political career. As her husband’s career began to flourish, Barbara remained family-centric, once saying, “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.”
She was known for her trademark white hair, a trait that was born of tragedy when her brown hair began to gray in the 1950s, while her 3-year-old daughter Pauline, known to her family as Robin, underwent treatment for leukemia and eventually died in October 1953, according to the Associated Press. She later said dyed hair didn’t look good on her, the Associated Press reported, and credited the color to the public’s perception of her as “everybody’s grandmother.”
She is also known for her sense of humor,once joking that her husband couldn’t keep a job, but that, at least, he wasn’t boring. And of her president son, she once said, “I may be the only mother in America who knows exactly what their child is up to all the time.”