On the day of this writing, my American Flag flies at half-staff because Barbara Bush died last night, April 17, 2018. She was the wise and witty matriarch of her prominent Republican family.
I enjoyed all the news about her authentic personality, the love story with her husband, the 100 plus scrapbooks she created over the years, and her apparent taste for bourbon.
Her son Jeb described her as, “… an exceptionally gracious, gregarious, fun, funny, loving, tough, smart, graceful woman.”
In 1990 as the commencement speaker at the all-women Wellesley College in Massachusetts Barbara Bush shared her wisdom by 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 concluded her address with wit, saying, “Somewhere out in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps and preside over the White House as the president’s spouse, and I wish him well.”
Several famous women, living during my lifetime, have positively influenced me: Oprah Winfrey, Jacqueline Kennedy, Maya Angelou, Princess Diana, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, and yes, Barbara Bush. Because of how they lived, I knew who they were and for what they stood.
Mrs. Bush’s words best express her strength: “Your success as a family… our success as a nation… depends not on what happens inside the White House, but on what happens inside your house.”
In a time of women being socialized to work both outside and inside the home, Barbara Bush modeled the importance and honor of being, first and foremost, a wife and mother. She permitted us to develop a clear voice in defense of ourselves and those we love, gave value to being genuine, and didn’t conform to the idea of women only being valued if they were beautiful, skinny, and perfect. She stood for so much more.
A neighbor to the Bush’s in Houston said it best, “If the world could be full of Barbara Bush’s, the world would be a much better place.”
May she rest in peace with her daughter who died of leukemia at the age of three.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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