Jenna Bush Hager couldn't hold back her emotions during Tuesday's Today show as she spoke about her three late grandparents and the book she wrote in their honor after their deaths. It was a challenging year for Hager when she lost three of her grandparents back to back — former First Lady Barbara Bush in 2018, former President George H. W. Bush in November 2018 and Jenna Welch in May 2019.
"All of my grandparents were prolific letter writers," Hager explained on the show. "They wrote about their love, their heartbreak, about books that they had read. They wrote just to say I'm thinking about you." It was that which prompted her to write Everything Beautiful in Its Time, her new book released Tuesday that she called a "love letter" to them.
.@JennaBushHager lost three of her grandparents in one year, including former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush. Now she’s sharing her memories of them in a new book, “Everything Beautiful in Its Time.” pic.twitter.com/jMBkMAbSyL— TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 8, 2020
Hager shared passages from her book during Tuesday's show, including a letter she wrote to her "Ganny" on her birthday, a toast she wrote for twin sister Barbara Pierce Bush's wedding and letters to her own daughters, Mila, 7, and 5-year-old Poppy. "It is my mama who taught me how to be a mom, but it is you, my darlings, who are teaching me what it means to be a mom," Hager wrote to her daughter. "When I hold you at night, singing the same songs your Grammy sang to me, I am filled with unconditional love."
"And I think about my strong mama, and my grandmas, and the women that came before, and I am so grateful you are mine," she continued. "Just like those moments dancing, years ago, feet in rhythm to my mama's step, I'm following her lead again. And I'm dancing with the two of you as often as I can. Love, Mama."
It was an emotional segment for Hager, who teared up during and after the reading, as well as her co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, who joked they had underestimated the number of tissues they would need. Hager explained to her emotional co-anchors that the title of her book stems from a Bible passage she read at her grandmother's funeral. "It says that everything is beautiful in its time," she said. "And I think even grief is beautiful in some ways, because it means you loved the people enough to miss them and to care."