As the country pays tribute to former President George H.W. Bush, the Bush Foundation on Sunday released a video clip of Barbara Bush reading excerpts from a heartfelt 1958 letter Bush wrote about their daughter who had died from leukemia when she was 3 years old.
Bush is survived by his five children, including former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush, their sixth child, died from leukemia.
Bush penned a letter to his mother five years after Robin’s death, describing the sense of loss the family felt.
“We need some starched crisp frocks to go with all our torn-kneed blue jeans and helmets. We need some soft blond hair to offset those crew cuts,” the letter read. “We need a dollhouse to stand firm against our forts and rackets and thousand baseball cards… We need a little one who can kiss without leaving egg or jam or gum. We need a girl,” he wrote.
The letter went on: “We had one once. She’d fight and cry and play and make her way just like the rest but there was about her a certain softness. She was patient. Her hugs were just a little less wiggly.”
“But she is still with us. We need her and yet we have her. We can’t touch her and yet we can feel her. We hope she’ll stay in our house for a long, long time,” he concluded.
Barbara Bush, who died in April at the age of 92, had talked about Robin’s battle with leukemia in a 2012 interview, ABC reported. She said her husband would “have to leave the room” every time Robin got a blood transfusion.
“Robin to me is a joy,” she said. “She’s like an angel to me and she’s not a sadness or a sorrow, those little far arms around my neck.”
Bush’s casket arrived at the U.S. Capitol on Monday where President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump paid their respects. Bush will lie in wait until Wednesday morning before being transported to the National Cathedral for a private state funeral.
The Bush Foundation said Bush will be buried Thursday next to his wife and daughter at Texas A&M’s presidential library.