FORMER President GEORGE W. BUSH is so devastated over watching his dad slip away, he’s turned to the bottle to ease his pain, reveal insiders.
As the 88-year-old senior Bush plunged into a medical crisis triggered by bronchitis, his Texas-tough son started falling apart, the insiders add.
“George is severely broken up over his dad’s deteriorating health,” a longtime family friend told The ENQUIRER. “While the elder Bush tells everyone he’s not going anywhere, there’s a sad belief his days are numbered.
“And no one has taken it harder than ‘W.’ While he’s worked hard to maintain his sobriety, it’s no secret he’s severely depressed over the thought of losing his father and has knocked back a few drinks in recent weeks while at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.”
George H.W. Bush, whose distinguished public service career climaxed with his presidency, has been hospitalized twice since November. He battled back from severe bronchitis, which on his most recent stay triggered a nagging, painful cough. As part of his treatment at Houston’s Methodist Hospital, he was given antibiotics and steroids. He also suffers from a form of Parkinson’s disease that has forced him to use a wheelchair or motorized scooter.
Family friends are worried that his father’s health woes will have an overwhelming emotional impact on “W,” who climbed on the wagon after his hard-partying youth. But following his heavily criticized handling of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath in 2005, George returned to drinking after years of sobriety, as The ENQUIRER revealed at the time.
“George is really hurting from what appear to be his dad’s final days,” disclosed another source. “The word is he’s had a drink or two to deaden the pain despite his wife
Laura keeping a watchful eye on him. As his father fades, it’s been hard for him to maintain that steely Bush facade.”
Making matters worse, the father-son relationship has been bumpy.
“You have to understand that there are decades of unresolved issues between the two,” noted the source. “In recent years, George has also been rankled by his dad’s close friendship with Bill Clinton. They bonded as they traveled the world together as ex-presidents doing humanitarian work. They had an easy, breezy relationship filled with jokes, smiles and a lot of laughs, and that always bothered ‘W’ because he never got along with his father that well.”
Now, George is said to be eager to strengthen his bond with his dad before time runs out.
“He’s just uncertain how to go about it and fears, at this stage, it may be too late,” noted the source. “In the meantime, no one wants to see him fall off the wagon for good.”