Barbara Bush was much more than the subject of the prerequisite profile on first ladies for both Tom Brokaw and historical biographer, Jon Meacham. Both these men knew Barbara Bush and her husband, 41st president, George H.W. Bush, as close friends, and trusted them in confidence. As endless words of tribute flow in waves commemorating her April 17 passing and offering condolences to the family, the newscaster and the writer are among those invited into the Bush inner circle, and they have been on the receiving end of the piercing wit and frank reflection from Barbara Bush.

Never afraid to speak her mind, she was equally liberal in love, and let her examples of humanity speak far more eloquently than anything in words.

Enduring consciousness

Few first ladies live an earthly span of 92 years, and Barbara Bush filled her years, even her last days and hours, with laughter, love, and gratitude for others, as expressed in her statement that she would no longer accept advanced medical treatment for underlying medical conditions, but instead focus on “comfort care.” Even in that final choice, she defended the rights of so many families in similar conditions, who choose the quality of time with dear ones rather than extended chronology.

“Her body may be gone,” explained former Chief of Staff Andrew Card to Megyn Kelly this morning, “but her conscience will always be there.” That consciousness for the Bush family always revolved around service to others and transforming pain into purpose.

After leaving the White House, “Bar and Poppy” (as Barbara Bush and the former president referred to themselves), raised more than $100 million for causes from literacy to AIDS research and world medicine, and the family combined has devoted themselves to becoming a force for giving, raising over $1 billion for charity.

It doesn't just come down to dollars when considering the legacy of Barbara Bush.

Even as a young bride, part of her intent in being willing to move to Texas, raise her six children, and make another 27 transplants in relocating her family was to shed the semblance of East Coast snobbery within the Republican party and politics overall at the time. When she became First Lady, her first instruction to her staff was that “every day, I want to do something to help somebody.” Sometimes, a picture has the power to magnify a mission, and the images of Barbara Bush holding HIV-positive babies and sharing books with children of every hue with her characteristic warmth and fun spread her message long before Twitter and Facebook became omnipresent.

Barbara Bush never needed anything conjured by a Press Secretary when it came to engaging with children. Jon Meacham described to MSNBC this week how it was said that her hair became white through the process of caring for daughter, Robin, who died just shy of her fourth birthday, from childhood leukemia, in 1953. Mrs. Bush always came to tears from the memory of how “I saw that little body. I saw her spirit go,” while brushing her daughter's hair. Cancer became a consuming cause of family philanthropy, while their numbers grew. Daughter-in-law and first lady, Laura Bush, carried on the torch for literacy lit by Barbara Bush’s passion, and granddaughters, Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush have kept a focus on the literary world and their family through several books -- the latest on sisterhood.

Never holding back

The deepest barbs aimed at Barbara Bush often came from other women, like those at Wellesley College, who considered her not as “accomplished” in her own right as their speaker choice for commencement in 1990, author Alice Walker. With her classic grace, Mrs. Bush quipped that she would never be known for “The Color Purple,” but instead they would get the lady known for her white hair.

The close of her remarks took a quiet and deep stand for women, in irrefutable Barbara Bush style, as she spoke that “one of you will be the spouse of the next president, and I wish him well.”

Barbara Bush also insisted that “we’ve had enough Bushes” when asked about the prospect of her son, Governor Jeb Bush running in the 2016 election.

When the time came, however, after his lot was cast among the contenders, Mom was out stumping with her walker, fervent as ever.

Her political stance and personal views were sometimes divergent, such as with her pro-choice beliefs, but family and helping families to thrive in every way remained central to her heart. The collective Bush family portrait is a living testament to embracing diversity.

In her last days and hours, Barbara Bush thrived when being read to from her own memoirs of family memories, by friends like Susan Baker, wife of former Secretary of State, James Baker. Her circle of beloved friends was never limited to the political letter beside the names. Joe Biden called her “the backbone” of her family.

Jon Meacham lovingly noted that “when you got a ‘Dearie’ from Barbara Bush, you knew you were in trouble.” Brokaw detailed that "grace was built into her, and there was never any put-on."

When her husband verified that she was indeed “the enforcer” of the family, Barbara Bush interrupted, saying, “Then how come nobody does what I order?”

It may not have seemed so at the time, but the orders of love, truth, and wisdom given by Barbara Bush will echo loud and clear for all time.