Jimmy Carter, family opens up on wife’s final moments
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter's death marks the end of a historic and enduring love story, leaving a legacy of compassion and public service.
In the days following her passing, new details of her final moments have been released to the public, including the former President's confession that he wouldn't be able to "outlive [Rosalynn] and protect her until she passed" according to their son.
Rosalynn Carter, who stood by her husband, former President Jimmy Carter, through decades of public service, died peacefully at their home in Plains, Georgia, on November 19th.
Her passing came after a period in hospice care, surrounded by her loving family. Aged 96, Rosalynn had been a steadfast companion and confidante to her husband throughout their 77 years of marriage, the longest in presidential history.
End of an era: The Carter marriage legacy
The Carters' marriage was more than a partnership; it was a testament to mutual respect, love, and shared values. Their relationship, spanning over seven decades, witnessed significant moments in American history, from Jimmy Carter's presidency to their extensive volunteer work.
Even in the face of adversity, such as Jimmy Carter's cancer diagnosis in 2015, the couple's bond remained unbreakable. They celebrated their 76th wedding anniversary in July 2022, a milestone few couples achieve. Their marriage was a beacon of hope and inspiration for many.
Chip Carter, their son, shared touching details of Rosalynn's final moments. He recounted his father's last words to her, expressing gratitude and love for a lifetime spent together. This emotional farewell marked the end of an era for the Carter family and the nation.
"Dad told me several times over the last nine months that he had always thought he would outlive Mom and protect her until she passed, but that now he wasn't sure that was going to happen - and that upset him," Chip said.
"My Dad told her he loved her and thanked her for all the wonderful things she had done. Then he asked us to leave so he could be alone with her. But he stayed alive. We all told him how proud we were of his relationship with her and of how he looked after her," said Son James E. "Chip" Carter III.
A life dedicated to service and advocacy
As First Lady from 1977 to 1981, Rosalynn Carter was more than the president's wife; she was his partner in advocacy and change. Her work, particularly in the area of mental health, left a lasting impact on the nation. She continued her public service even after leaving the White House, dedicating herself to numerous charitable causes, including Habitat for Humanity.
Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter's love story began in their small hometown of Plains, Georgia. They first met when Jimmy was just three years old, and Rosalynn was an infant. Over the years, their bond grew, leading to their marriage on July 7, 1946. This union set the stage for a life of shared dreams, challenges, and accomplishments.
The Carter family, including their four children, 21 grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, were a testament to the couple's enduring love and commitment. Jimmy Carter, now 99 and also in hospice care, was holding Rosalynn's hand in her final moments, a poignant end to their remarkable journey together.
Tributes and final respects
The Carter family has extended invitations to all former First Ladies to attend Rosalynn's funeral, scheduled for November 30th. This gathering of notable figures, including President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, is a reflection of the respect and admiration Rosalynn Carter garnered over her lifetime.
Rosalynn's advocacy work, especially in destigmatizing mental illness, was a cornerstone of her legacy. Her efforts in this field brought much-needed attention and resources to mental health issues, influencing policy and public perception.
Jimmy Carter, in a statement reflecting on their marriage, once said, "Marrying her was the best thing I ever did." This sentiment captures the essence of their relationship, one based on mutual support, love, and shared values.
Lessons to learn from this tragedy
1. Cherish your loved ones: The Carter marriage teaches us the importance of cherishing our partners and the time we have with them.
2. Legacy of service: Rosalynn's dedication to public service and advocacy is a reminder of the impact one individual can have on the world.
3. Resilience in adversity: The Carters' ability to face challenges together, like Jimmy's cancer diagnosis, is a lesson in resilience and mutual support.
4. Love endures: Their enduring love story exemplifies that true love can withstand the tests of time and circumstance.
Why this story matters
Rosalynn Carter's life and death matter because they exemplify a commitment to public service, advocacy, and enduring love. Her legacy reminds us of the impact one person can have on many. Her story is a testament to the power of partnership and the enduring strength of human compassion. Rosalynn Carter's life was a beacon of hope and inspiration, and her passing is a loss to the nation and the world.
- Rosalynn Carter passed away at 96, leaving behind a legacy of love and service.
- Her marriage to Jimmy Carter was the longest in presidential history.
- Her work in mental health advocacy and with Habitat for Humanity made a lasting impact.
- The Carter family invites notable figures to pay their respects at Rosalynn's funeral.