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41, other family members honor memory of Barbara Bush

"I am at peace with what took place and the reason why is my mother was at peace. She believes in an afterlife and was joyously looking forward to that afterlife," George W. Bush said Wednesday.

HOUSTON -- You can 'cross the Bushes off your worry list."

The words of former President George H.W. Bush, who released a statement Wednesday about the passing of his wife and best friend of 73 years, Barbara Pierce Bush.

"I always knew Barbara was the most beloved woman in the world, and in fact I use to tease her that I had a complex about that fact,' he wrote. "But the truth is the outpouring of love and friendship being directed at The Enforcer is lifting us all up. We have faith she is in heaven and we know life will go on -- as she would have it. So cross the Bushes off your worry list."

RELATED: Former First Lady Barbara Bush dies at 92 in her Houston home

Mr. Bush held his wife's hand and was at her side when she died Tuesday, according to Bush's Office Chief of Staff Jean Becker.

Barbara Bush was 92 and had battled COPD and congestive heart failure. He is 93 and confined to a wheelchair with a Parkinson-like illness.

Becker released a statement Tuesday night saying the former president is broken-hearted, but he "is being stoic and strong" during this challenging time.

PHOTOS: George and Barbara's wedding day

Their love story began in 1941 when she was 16 and he was 17. They met at a school dance and became engaged a year and a half later.

RELATED: George and Barbara Bush: A love story for the ages

The future president was on his way to becoming the youngest pilot in the U.S. Navy before serving in World War II.

They married in 1945, had six children – one of them a future president himself. Mrs. Bush is also survived by 17 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Many of them have honored their mother and grandmother through social media posts, statements and interviews.

"My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was," George W. Bush wrote. "Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions."

PHOTOS: Barbara Pierce Bush

43 also spoke about his mother Wednesday at The Leadership Forum at the Bush Center in Dallas.

"I am at peace with what took place and the reason why is my mother was at peace. She believes in an afterlife and was joyously looking forward to that afterlife," he said.

Former First Lady Laura Bush got a little choked up when she spoke about her mother-in-law at the forum.

"Barbara Bush was the strongest of leaders, she led with with grace and quick wit. Watching her I learned how to be a first lady, and I am so grateful for her example."

RELATED: US leaders, celebrities share condolences for Barbara Bush

“I’m so blessed to be her son," Jeb Bush said in Chicago Wednesday. "She taught us to serve others, she taught us to be civil, she taught us to love your family with your heart and soul."

And from granddaughter Jenna Bush Hagar: “I already miss this FORCE of a woman— the ‘enforcer’ because she was the glue that held our family together. She taught me to use my voice but also to value the opinions of others. She adored her friends and family; her loyalty was unwavering. Humor helps, she often said and it does, Gans, but I will miss your laugh terribly.”

I already miss this FORCE of a woman— the “enforcer” because she was the glue that held our family together. She taught me to use my voice but also to value the opinions of others. She adored her friends and family; her loyalty was unwavering. Humor helps, she often said and it does, Gans, but I will miss your laugh terribly. She adored my Gampy, the first man she ever kissed; their love story is so engrained in the history of our family. Thinking of my Gampy tonight —no doubt missing his beloved desperately. Gans, people stopped me all the time to tell me how much they loved you. I didn’t mind sharing you with them. I love you more than tongue can tell, my Ganny.

A post shared by jennabhager (@jennabhager) on

And this:

Someone sent this to me—I don’t know the artist but I love her. Miss you Gans.

A post shared by jennabhager (@jennabhager) on

A public celebration of Barbara Bush's life and legacy will be held Thursday night in front of Houston City Hall.

Barbara Bush will lie in repose Friday and the public is invited to the viewing from noon to midnight at St. Martin's Church. A private funeral will be held Saturday at St. Martin's with burial following at the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M.