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George H.W. Bush Hoped to Reunite With Late Daughter Robin in Heaven, Jenna Bush Hager Says

Jenna Bush Hager wrote that her grandfather, the late President George H.W. Bush, hoped to reunite with his daughter, Pauline "Robin" Bush, who died at age 3 in 1953.

The president died late Friday at age 94, eight months after his wife, former First Lady Barbara Bush, died this past April at age 92. The couple was married for 73 years and parents to six children, including Bush Hager's father, President George W. Bush. Their second child, Robin Bush, was diagnosed with leukemia at age 3 and died two months before her fourth birthday in 1953.

In a message on Instagram, Bush Hager shared an illustration from editorial cartoonist Marshall Ramsey, showing the former president and first lady with Robin. "We waited for you," Barbara Bush says in the illustration.

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This brought me such comfort this morning. I had the opportunity to talk with my grandpa about the afterlife. This is what he said: ​He answered without any hesitation. “Yes, I think about it. I used to be afraid. I used to be scared of dying. I used to worry about death. But now in some ways I look forward to it.” And I started crying. I managed to choke out, “Well, why? What do you look forward to?” And he said, “Well, when I die, I’m going to be reunited with these people that I’ve lost.” And I asked who he hoped to see. He replied, I hope I see Robin, and I hope I see my mom. I haven’t yet figured it out if it will be Robin as the three year old that she was, this kind of chubby, vivacious child or if she’ll come as a middle-aged woman, an older woman. And then he said, “I hope she’s the three-year-old.” Robin was the daughter this giant of a man lost years before to leukemia. The little girl he held tightly: who spoke the phrase I have heard Gampy repeat for my entire life, forever knitting Robin’s voice into the tightly woven fabric of our family: “I love you more than tongue can tell.”

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Bush Hager said she recently talked to her grandfather about the afterlife. During their conversation, President Bush said he would like to see Robin in heaven.

"I had the opportunity to talk with my grandpa about the afterlife. This is what he said: ​He answered without any hesitation," Bush Hager wrote. "'Yes, I think about it. I used to be afraid. I used to be scared of dying. I used to worry about death. But now in some ways I look forward to it.' And I started crying. I managed to choke out, 'Well, why? What do you look forward to?' And he said, 'Well, when I die, I’m going to be reunited with these people that I’ve lost.'"

The TODAY Show contributor continued, "And I asked who he hoped to see. He replied, 'I hope I see Robin, and I hope I see my mom. I haven’t yet figured it out if it will be Robin as the three year old that she was, this kind of chubby, vivacious child or if she’ll come as a middle-aged woman, an older woman.' And then he said, 'I hope she’s the three-year-old.' Robin was the daughter this giant of a man lost years before to leukemia. The little girl he held tightly: who spoke the phrase I have heard Gampy repeat for my entire life, forever knitting Robin’s voice into the tightly woven fabric of our family: 'I love you more than tongue can tell.'"

After Robin's death, the Bush family was inspired to establish the Bright Star Foundation to raise awareness for leukemia and money for research. In 2004, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center opened the Robin Bush Child and Adolescent Clinic.

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The impact of Robin's legacy was back in the spotlight after Barbara Bush's death in April, when Ramsey's illustration of the mother and daughter reunion in heaven went viral. Bush Hager shared that illustration as well at the time.

Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images