Jimmy Carter, 99 years old and in hospice care, would not miss the final chapter of his love story with wife Rosalynn.
Slightly reclined in a wheelchair, with a blanket on his lap embroidered with the couple’s faces, the ex-president took a front-row seat at his beloved’s service in Atlanta on Tuesday.
He appeared more frail than he ever has in his first public appearance since September but seemed peaceful as son Chip and daughter Amy held his hands.
“He’s coming to the end, and he’s very, very physically diminished,” grandson Jason Carter told The New York Times before the service.
“But I think he was proud and happy that he was there for her till the very end, and he wasn’t going to miss this for anything.”
Carter Center CEO Paige Alexander said the former president was “determined” to make the trip to Atlanta despite his condition.
“He never wants to be very far from her,” she said. “This is her last trip up and it’s probably his, too.”
Months after a dementia diagnosis and days after entering hospice herself, Rosalynn Carter died last week at the home in Plains, Georgia, that she shared with her husband of 77 years.
The public tribute preceded a private funeral at Maranatha Baptist Church on Wednesday, which will be followed by a burial in the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park, where her husband plans to buried next to her.