I don’t have much desire to pay attention to the news much these days, so usually—I just don’t. 

That’s terrible, I know . . . but it’s also the truth (and probably a discussion for another day). 

Today, though, I happened to catch the beginning of the state funeral for President George H.W. Bush, and something about it pulled me in. 

It wasn’t the pageantry of the processional—which was impressive. 

It wasn’t the roster of domestic and international dignitaries in attendance—which was noteworthy. 

It wasn’t even analyzing the, shall we say, interesting interactions of certain parties seated together the front row.

What captured my attention were the members of the Bush family—and how utterly normal they were today. 

It’s easy to forget, I think, that with all the politics and pomp and circumstance stripped away, the Bushes are just a family, loving each other through a difficult—even if it was expected—transition. They sat in the pews passing each other tissues, sharing nervous laughter, and navigating a deeply personal moment in front of a national audience. 

And then, there was W. 


 

Admittedly, I’m a fan of the 43rd president. His slightly bumbling, “aw shucks” persona warms my Midwestern heart, and I love his camaraderie (and candy passing) with former First Lady Michelle Obama. 

But when George W. Bush delivered his father’s eulogy today, he wasn’t the Texas governor-turned president. 

He was just a son, loving his dad: 

Last Friday, when I was told he had minutes to live, I called him. The guy who answered the phone said, ‘I think he can hear you, but hasn’t say anything most of the day.’ I said, ‘Dad, I love you, and you’ve been a wonderful father.’ And the last words he would ever say on earth were, ‘I love you, too.’”

To us, he was close to perfect. But, not totally perfect. His short game was lousy. He wasn’t exactly Fred Astaire on the dance floor. The man couldn’t stomach vegetables, especially broccoli. And by the way, he passed these genetic defects along to us.

Finally, every day of his 73 years of marriage, Dad taught us all what it means to be a great husband. He married his sweetheart. He adored her. He laughed and cried with her. He was dedicated to her totally.

In his old age, dad enjoyed watching police show reruns, volume on high, all the while holding mom’s hand. After mom died, Dad was strong, but all he really wanted to do was to hold mom’s hand, again.

I found myself tearing up as he closed with these words: 

Well, Dad—we’re going remember you for exactly that and so much more. And we’re going to miss you. Your decency, sincerity, and kind soul will stay with us forever. So, through our tears, let us see the blessings of knowing and loving you—a great and noble man, and the best father a son or daughter could have.

And in our grief, let us smile knowing that Dad is hugging Robin and holding mom’s hand again.

That’s a special bond between a parent and his child—and one this usually-disenchanted-with-the-news mother in the middle of flyover country was awfully grateful to have witnessed today, in living color. 

Full video of George W. Bush’s eulogy of George H.W. Bush 

You may also want to read:

When George Saw Barbara at the Gates of Heaven

Carolyn Moore

Carolyn traded a career in local TV news for a gig as a stay-at-home mom, where the days are just as busy and the pay is only slightly worse. She lives in flyover country with her husband and four young kids, and occasionally writes about raising them at Assignment Mom