First lady Barbara Bush used her last words with son Jeb Bush to talk about Jesus Christ before she died last week.
“Jeb, I believe in Jesus and he is my savior,” she told him when he asked her about her feelings on death.
Bush said they talked about many aspects of her faith in that last tender moment. He shared the conversation with 1,500 attendees at his mother’s funeral at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston on Saturday.
“I don’t want to leave your dad but I know I’ll be in a beautiful place.”
The Saturday service included high-profile former political figures, including first lady Melania Trump, Barbara Bush’s husband and son (former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush), along with Barack and Michelle Obama, and Bill and Hillary Clinton.
“We learned to strive to be genuine and authentic by the best role model in the world,” Bush added of the legacy of his mother.
During the service, six of Bush’s grandchildren, all women, each read a section from the Book of Proverbs, beginning with the words, “Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.'”
Barbara Bush, who was a lifetime Episcopalian, said in the final few years of her life that she has no fear of death.
During a C-Span interview in 2013, the then-88-year-old Bush affirmed that she is a “huge believer in a loving God.”
“And I have no fear of death, which is a huge comfort because we’re getting darned close,” she said.
“And I don’t have a fear of death for my precious George or for myself because I know that there is a great God,” she added, referring to her husband.
Historian and author Jon Meacham, who wrote a biography of George H.W. Bush and was one of the three eulogists whom Barbara Bush selected before her death, said on Saturday that the former first lady was “candid and comforting, steadfast and straightforward, honest and loving.”
In an emotional moment, Jeb Bush read his father’s own words from written in letters to his mother on their anniversary.
“You have given me joy that few men know … I have climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world, but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara’s husband,” he read one such letter from 1994, according to Reuters.
While his son was reading, the 93-year-old former president “squeezed his eyes shut and wept.”