The Carters

Erin Schaden
5 min readNov 22, 2023

We lost Rosalynn yesterday. I am sure Jimmy will go shortly. You don’t spend your life with someone for all that time, and not feel the immense loss of that person in every fiber of your being.

They were an exceptional couple on so many levels. First, they were married for 77 years! 77 years! That is an incredible feat for anyone. In fact, I am almost more impressed with the both of them for that than I am for they being the 39th president of the United States! 77 years is a very long time to live with one person…to stay married to one person. I am a divorce attorney, I know this to be true.

I think of all the things, all the life changes they had to walk through together. And then you add the presidency to that list and I am just amazed at their fortitude and tenacity. Incredible.

They have four children together. And that was no easy accomplishment either. And none of them have been in the news, or rehab to my knowledge. I am sure they struggled, because all kids struggle…but they did not soak up the media spotlight on their parents heels.

You will find that I am talking about them holding the presidency together because they did. He would have never made it without her and the same is said for her. They rose to that level in our country because of their combined efforts. This is true for all who hold the office. No one gets to the highest office in the land without a great deal of support, help, advice and sacrifice.

Together they won the Nobel Peace Prize, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Grammy Award for best audio book narration (3 times!), Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism and the list goes on. And they did all of that TOGETHER!

They started Habitat for Humanity and worked along side the people building their own homes…repeatedly.

I also think he was an amazing president but his opportunity cut short because he was too moral a man to hold that office. Which makes me incredibly sad. He might have been the only one in our entire history of men that have held that office that were not skirt chasing cads…

As a couple, they stood for what they believed in. They loved each other and in a very quiet, humble way, changed the world. They didn’t live in a mansion. They didn’t insert themselves into the media. They just walked the walk, and showed up for their lives with a sincere desire to do better in this world and to have that begin with them.

And we now lose a great light and hope for our future in Roalyn’s passing and with Jimmy’s imminent demise. I am sure his desire to be here without her fades with every passing moment. He asked her to marry him so many times and she said no, repeatedly. But he was sure she was the woman for him, so he kept asking until she said yes. They were married July 7, 1946. That is a very long time to be married when you weren’t so sure at the outset.

But I like to think that this humble beginning for this power couple was a foretelling of what their marriage would be like. She the pragmatic tether to his idealized dreamer. And it worked, actually quite well for everyone concerned.

I did not share their religion but they made their faith attractive to me. They lived it. And I am a big fan of anyone who walks the walk in pretty much anything.

They epitomized first couplehood to me. They were good, decent people, who loved each other, honored their vows to each other and to all of us. They upheld the principles of our Nation, even when no one was watching. And that cannot be said now. Look at the embarrassment that has held office in the recent past. And not just him, there are many whose morals and convictions just pale in comparison…

They were the gold standard and now they leave this life, and all of us and we are all left to sort through the society that remains. Divided, polarized, hating each other and working against each other on pretty much everything. I want to live in Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter land. I want to live in their world, where decency and service are the things most prized and cared for…not this world we live in now. Our current status disgusts me honestly. So I do not participate (I vote but that is all) and then I just try to avoid hearing all the awfulness that goes on in the world because it pains me. And while I know that I should likely be a greater cause for good, follow their stellar example, I do attempt, every day to make my little part of the world better. I show up, I work to be kind and loving to all I encounter (I fail but I keep trying) and I try to be of service to those about me in the ways that I can.

To me they were the last great American dynasty. One where morality, kindness, helpfulness and love were the pillars. As they leave us, we are left with a world where there just isn’t another good example…at least not one that I know of. They were the best, in all the ways. And I feel their light dimming, and now being extinguished and it pains me. I already miss their love, their leadership, their stewardship of the earth and all its beings.

But I endeavor to carry on the spirit of these two amazing people that became the best kind of power couple. I will do my best to honor their memory and legacy by helping where I live and serving those I can…not from on high but in the trenches alongside my fellow humans.

I love their love for each other and for all of us. Amazing teachers who the world often mocked for their naive belief that everyone had value and meaning and things like honor and commitment and integrity were their every day.

Thank you for your service Rosalynn. We will look after Jimmy until it is his time to join you. I am sure it won’t be long. You just go right ahead holding space for him and knowing that when you said yes on that fateful July day so many years ago, you change not only your fate, but all of ours as well. Thank you for your love, your example and your humanity. You truly left this world a better place than you found it.

I love this image…right there along side each other to the very end. I cried like a baby writing this.

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Erin Schaden

Who am I? I am all that I write, all that I learn, share and grow. Read and find out? Check out www.nakedrandomthoughts.com for more.