God Wins…but can I ?

A Mother's Journey

President Bush’s example – time doesn’t change love for a deceased child


Along with the rest of the world, I grieve the loss of President George H.W. Bush. Or as many call him – 41. It sure takes a smart and special person to serve as President of the United States. His devotion and personal investment in our country were great. His devotion to his wife and family was equally remarkable and noteworthy.

As the stories are told about President Bush, there’s one story about his personal life that I didn’t now. He had a three year old daughter Robin who died of leukemia in 1953. It was a time when there weren’t many advances in the treatment of leukemia. She was in a hospital in New York for many months. When Robin died, Barbara and George Bush were devastated.

Their love for Robin stayed with the Bush’s their entire lives. So much so, that President George W. Bush (43) mentioned his sister’s name during his father’s eulogy. The mentioning of Robin, 65 years after her death, touches me — deeply.

As a mother of a deceased child, I immediately connect with the deep grief of losing a child. I also connect to the powerful hope of a reconciliation with Leah after my own death.

Mentioning Robin’s name gives voice to all parents who have lost a child to death.

We can learn four, key things from George H.W. Bush’s example:

  1. Say the child’s name – It’s healing and affirming to hear the deceased child’s name. It’s meaningful when others acknowledge our deceased children. Our children graced this planet, whether for moments or decades, and brought us joy. Saying Robin’s name at Presiden’t Bush’s funeral told the world, “We remember Robin. She is not forgotten. She was cherished.” Saying her name was a gift to the entire family.  Hearing my daughter’s name brings me joy. It doesn’t make me sad. As the years go by, I hear Leah’s name less and less. Not hearing her name is what makes me sad.
  2. Number of other children doesn’t lessen pain – The Bush’s have six children total. Robin was one of six. The fact that there are five other children didn’t lessen George and Barbara’s pain and grief of losing Robin. Period.
  3. Grief grows compassion – President Bush remained sensitive and comforting to people he met who were battling cancer or other terminal illnesses. He went out of his way to acknowledge the pain and grief that were caused by cancer.
  4. Time doesn’t matter – Robin died at 3 years old. President Bush hasn’t seen his daughter for 65 years. Let that sink in —  65 years. At the age of 94, this father still longed for his daughter’s presence. The hope of seeing his God, wife and daughter gave him peace as he approached death. His love for his daughter knew no time limit. He carried her in his heart until his last breath.

Personally, the last point hits me the strongest. There is a comfort in knowing that I share this connection with the Bush’s. Although a sad connection, parents who have lost children have a bond with one another.

I’ve been living four years, almost five, without my daughter Leah. My love hasn’t lessened one bit. And it never will. It is affirming to hear how devoted President Bush was to his child’s memory and the ways that her presence blessed his life.

There are good articles about the impact Robin had on the Bush family. There is one today in the Washington Post.


Thank you President Bush for loving your family and country well. May you rest in peace and enjoy your first days in heaven with Barbara and Robin.

Blog_George HW Bush



Author: Marie E Guthrie

What can I say about myself? My heart beats fast for my family, friends and calling. Professionally, I have a passion for helping people and organizations tell their stories in a compelling way and I have been doing this fun work my whole career. Never once bored in the marketing and communications profession. Presently, I am providing consulting services to corporate and nonprofit organizations. For seven years, I was the Senior Director of Corporate Marketing and Communications at Awana. I am dedicated to learning how to better love my family members and friends. I am married to a very special man, Mark. I have two children. Grant in his college years - a treasure. My beautiful daughter Leah is now in heaven. Her 14 month battle with cancer has taken me down a road that I never thought I'd go, but I would do it all again. This blog is dedicated to my brave and faithful daughter. At a young age, I was drawn to the sacrificial love I learned about as I was taught about Christ. My heart since age eight was transformed from total selfishness to a heart that desired to love God and others. This love has driven who I am - far from perfect, but dedicated to the One who loves me more than any human ever could. I have questions for God about the story of my life; I wrestle with Him about losing Leah, but He and I go deep. Still feel His arms around me. We are taking it day by day.

18 thoughts on “President Bush’s example – time doesn’t change love for a deceased child

  1. How touching – you made
    me cry!

  2. What a beautiful piece of writing. You make it all so clear. Thankyou for helping me to see through a different lens.

  3. Marie – As we are in the midst of the holiday season, your lovely post arrived at a crucial time. It’s a strong reminder for me to take a moment from the holiday “hustle and bustle” to honor and celebrate those we have loved and lost, especially those, like your beautiful Leah, and the Bush’s Robin, who were taken much too soon. And in doing so, it “gives voice to all parents who have lost a child to death.” Your post also reminded me to think of, and say out loud, the names of my parents’ and other family/friends who are no longer with us. My parents lost two babies, both were full-term pregnancies, but they passed away a few hours after birth. Back then the syndrome was called “blue babies” (their lungs collapsed). We never forgot them, and I often wonder what my life would have been like had they both lived. So in their honor, I’d like to say/type their names here: Rosa Arcangela DiGioia and Paul DiGioia for my beloved parents Rosa and Saverio “Sam” DiGioia. And as always, a loving shout out to your beautiful Leah. Thank you Marie.

    • Michael, your comment brings tears to my eyes. Such wise and special words. How heartbreaking for your parents (and your family) to have lost two children at birth. Rosa Arcangela and Paul – such wonderful names and such precious babies. And now your parents are enjoying heaven with them. What a fulfilling reunion we will have with them one day. Hugs to you…thank you for sharing.

  4. Dear Marie,Mark and Grant

    Every year around this time, when people are happy about the coming Christmas and New year I feel strangely sad about our lovely Leahs untimely going to Heaven at such a young age. However, knowing that she is with Jesus in Heaven and the assurance of seeing her there again, along with my dear Irma, as well as my brother Peter and Mom and Dad, I am comforted and encouraged.
    I pray that Jesus would wrap you all into His love and peace that passes all human understanding at the coming Christmas and New Year.

    I love you and pray for you always,

    • Thank you. Yes, the Christmas season brings joy, but tears that others may not understand. An empty feeling because Irma and Leah are irreplaceable. We are confident that we will see them again – thanks to Christmas. Jesus – our great HOPE. Love you Opa.

  5. So beautiful. Thank you.

  6. Thank you for the story. I’m so sorry about your prescious Leah. What type of childhood cancer took her life? Ewing’s sarcoma is the beast that took my sweet Lilli’s life. She was treated mainly at MD Anderson’s pediatric clinic which is named for Robin Bush. As you probably know since you are also a cancer mom, Robin would have had a much greater chance of surviving if she had been born after the 1960’s as I believe she had ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) and not AML. I prefer to include the name of the type of childhood cancer so that hopefully eventually people will get famsilar w/ the names of the 12 childhood cancers and not assume they all have leukemia.
    Hugs Kay

    • Hi Kay, thank you for your comment. Leah had undifferentiated sarcoma cancer. 😦 They tried to diagnose and it took six weeks to learn it was undifferentiated. As you know, time is critical because it’s key to getting the right/best treatment. She had a leading sarcoma expert on her case too. Heartbreaking. Sarcoma is a beast. I call it a monster. People will never understand what a nightmare sarcoma cancer is. sigh. Yes, thankfully Robin’s cancer is now much more treatable. I am so sorry about Lilli. Sending a hug and love back to year dear momma.

  7. Love this!
    Our daughter Emma passed away after a 9 month battle with a rare leukemia just over 4 years ago at the age of 3y8m.
    Sending you so much love from one broken momma heart to another.
    (I also write – hope it gives you comfort when you do!)

    • Thank you for your comment. I am so sorry about your beautiful Emma’s passing. My daughter was 15 and had a rare sarcoma cancer. Came out of nowhere. We are blessed to have had our girls; it hurts though so badly that they are no longer physically with us. Sending you love in return. Glad you write. My writing does comfort me and provides an outlet for my feelings. Keep writing!

  8. Thank you for the gift of helping us to understand better.

  9. This article is very meaningful, especially at this time of year. I believe that 41 and Barbara had to have a very strong marriage to survive the death of a child as well as to go on to thrive as a family they way they did. It gives me hope thinking about the healthy approach they took to a devastating situation.

    • Thank you for your comment Kim. I agree with you. The Bush’s are an inspiration. I’ll never look at photos of them again the same way now that I know more of their personal story. I have a new respect …what gentle giants they were.

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