"We're sad that he's gone, but we can just imagine him in heaven."

One week after beloved evangelist Billy Graham passed away at the age of 99, former First Lady Laura Bush is speaking out about his profound influence on her family, in particular, her husband George W.

In a recent interview with NBCDFW, Laura spoke about saying goodbye to the man who changed George's life immeasurably.

"George and I paid our respects yesterday to the Graham family in Charlotte. We visited with Franklin and his wife, Jane. Billy Graham meant a lot to us. We knew him. We met him several times," Laura said. "George put an article yesterday in the Wall Street Journal about how Billy Graham had led him really back to faith and being able to quit drinking. He always credited Billy Graham with that. So we're sad that he's gone, but we can just imagine him in heaven."

George's heartfelt op-ed titled "How Billy Graham Changed My Life" appeared in the Journal two days after Graham's death.

"God's work within me began in earnest with Billy's outreach," he wrote. "His care and his teachings were the real beginning of my faith walk—and the start of the end of my drinking. I couldn't have given up alcohol on my own. But in 1986, at 40, I finally found the strength to quit. That strength came from love I had felt from my earliest days and from faith I didn't fully discover until my later years.

The 43rd president concluded with a message of thanks. "Those of us who were blessed to know Billy Graham benefited from his deep convictions and personal example, his wisdom and humility, his grace and purity of heart. We knew that his life was a gift from the Almighty. And I rejoice that he is now in the company of God, whom he loved so much and served so well."