Former President George H.W. Bush’s final days were reportedly peaceful, and his final words were ones of love.
Baker said that when he visited Bush on Friday morning, the day Bush died, the former president asked him, “Where are we going, Bake?”
“We’re going to heaven,” Baker told him, to which Bush replied, “That’s where I want to go.”
When Baker visited him later in the evening, he said his old friend had “slipped considerably.”
As Bush neared his death, he was with his son Neil Bush and his family, granddaughter Marshall Bush, friends, doctors and a minister. Baker told The Times he held Bush’s hand and rubbed his feet as Bush lay on his deathbed.
The other Bush children were called so they could speak to their father one last time.
As Bush neared his final moments, son George W. Bush, also a former president, spoke to his father on a speaker phone call to say goodbye from his home in Dallas, according to The Times. He told Bush Sr. that he had been a “wonderful dad” and that he loved him.
“I love you, too,” Bush answered, speaking his last words.
As reported by The Times, Bush’s pastor Dr. Levenson said that he visited Bush often in the recent weeks.
Levenson said that Bush was comforted by the thought that he would soon be with his wife, Barbara Bush, who died earlier this year, and their daughter Robin, who died in 1953.
“There was no question he knew where he was going and who he was going to be with,” Levenson said. “He was looking forward to being with Barbara and Robin again.”
Ronan Tynan, an Irish tenor singer, had called earlier on Friday to see if he could visit. When he was with Bush, he sang “Silent Night” and a Gaelic song.
Baker says that “believe it or not, the president was mouthing the words” as he listened to “Silent Night.”
Levenson said he led the room in prayer for Bush on the night of his death.
“We all knelt around him and placed our hands on him and prayed for him and it was a very graceful, gentle death,” Levenson said. “It was very evident that that man was so deeply loved.”
The Times reported that when Bush passed away at 10:10 p.m. on Friday, it was without a struggle or labored breathing.
“I can’t even hardly talk about it without welling up,” Baker said. “It was as gentle a passing as I think you could ever expect anyone to have. And he was ready.”
“If those things could be sweet,” Baker said, “it was sweet.”
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