One of your father figures is your longtime golf partner and former President George Herbert Walker Bush. What has he taught you?
President Bush really became someone that was a big part of my life at about the time my father fell ill. I have run so many important life decisions by him. "What should I do about this—I'm being asked to do such and such with my career, what do you think?"
You could say I was drawn to how I could see my dad in President Bush's actions. We were at an event in New York, and Lionel Hampton the legendary musician was there in a wheelchair. The president went over to see him and got down on a knee at eye level. It was such an incredible gesture; no one else did that. I was at a game at the Final Four, met a great young guy from Kansas—wheelchairbound—and I did the same thing. Would I have thought of that on my own? No, I had a father figure who showed me how you treat people with dignity.
Anything else you've gained from writing about this loss?
When I was writing the book, I thought about how it would give me a chance to tell my daughter about the grandfather she never knew. She was just a year old in 1995 when he suffered the stroke, and his life took the turn that unfortunately there was no recourse for. When she visits him, it's "Hi Granddaddy, how are you today?" She puts her arms around him, kisses him on the cheek, and talks to him. I'm so proud of her because none of that love's ever really been transferred back. Oh, it would've been—his arms would've been around her, and he'd have showered her with kisses and praise and all the love in the world.