What Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter's Relationship Was Like In Their Final Days, According To Their Grandson

Ever since news of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter's death broke, heartfelt tributes have been pouring in to honor her inspiring and adventurous life. In her political career and beyond, the beloved public figure strived to create a supportive environment for those suffering from mental health issues. She was also a feminist who consistently urged her husband, former President Jimmy Carter, to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, which would erase several discriminatory laws against women. 

Rosalynn was also an avid supporter of Habitat for Humanity and helped build several houses through donations and physical labor. To top it all off, she and Jimmy had the longest-standing presidential marriage, with a whopping 77 years together under their belt. After the Carter family shared the sad news of her dementia diagnosis in May 2023, Jimmy and Rosalynn's grandson, Josh Carter, told People that the couple still held hands although Jimmy was in hospice. He added that his grandfather understandably had a tough time watching his wife grapple with dementia, but he was glad that they had tons of memories together to soften the blow.

In the family's statement about Rosalynn's death, Jimmy wrote some sweet words for his wife. "Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished. She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it," he shared. "As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me." After that, their grandson, Jason Carter, also offered insight into their final days together, revealing that the couple was as close as ever until Rosalynn's last breath.

Jimmy Carter was by Rosalynn's side until the very end

Speaking to USA Today, Jason Carter spoke highly about Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter's marriage. "He's been in hospice now for several months, but they are happy," he explained. "They are together. They are at home. They're in love, and I don't think anyone gets more than that. I mean, it's a perfect situation for this time in their lives."

Meanwhile, Rosalynn and Jimmy's son, Chip Carter, told The Washington Post that his father sat by the former First Lady's bed as she neared the end of her life. He also revealed some of Jimmy's last words to his wife, saying, "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." He saw Jimmy hold Rosalynn's hand for the last time and believed he was praying for the 30 minutes they were left alone. 

Chip also told the outlet that their beds were within arm's reach of each other so they could always chat. After Rosalynn breathed her last, Jimmy once again asked everybody to leave him alone with his wife. Chip shared that Jimmy was particularly shaken about Rosalynn's death because he believed he wouldn't live to see the day she passed away. At 99, Jimmy isn't in the best of health either, but he still sat through Rosalynn's entire memorial service and was consoled by his kids and grandkids.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter fell in love on their first date

When Chip Carter gave an eulogy to his mother, Rosalynn, he thanked her and his father, Jimmy Carter, for giving him such a beautiful example of love and marriage. Jimmy and Rosalynn's daughter, Amy Carter, spoke about how their love story was such a prominent aspect of her mother's decorated life. Then, she broke down in tears as she read a love letter Jimmy wrote to Rosalynn when he served in the U.S. Navy 75 years ago. She said that the letter also served as an eulogy for her father, who was unable to speak. 

Jimmy and Rosalynn first met in 1927, when she was a newborn, and a 3-year-old Jimmy came to see her because their parents were close friends. The pair went on their first date nearly 20 years later, and it was pretty much a done deal after that.  After her passing, The Carter Center posted an adorable poem Jimmy wrote about his first date with Rosalynn. When Jimmy spoke to Melinda and Bill Gates in 2017, he shared the rules they follow to make the marriage work. 

He explained that since he and Rosalynn had varied interests, they gave each other space to explore their interests alone. Jimmy shared another rule that they religiously followed, regardless of circumstances and difficulties: "That is not to go to sleep angry." The former President elaborated that it wasn't uncommon for the couple to butt heads due to the size of their family, adding, "But we try to get over that argument before we go to sleep."