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It Always Comes Back To Plains, Jimmy Carter's Grandson Says In Update On President In Final Days

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  jbb  •  6 days ago  •  1 comments

By:   Meghan Overdeep (Southern Living)

It Always Comes Back To Plains, Jimmy Carter's Grandson Says In Update On President In Final Days
As Jimmy Carter nears his 16th month in hospice care at his home in Plains, Georgia, his grandson, Jason Carter, says there's "really been no change" in the former president's condition.

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Photo:

Chris McKay/Getty Images

As Jimmy Carter nears his 16th month in hospice care at his home in Plains, Georgia, his grandson, Jason Carter, says there's "really been no change" in the former president's condition.

Jason, 48, the oldest of Jimmy and Rosalynn's 22 grandchildren, told Southern Living Wednesday that the 99 year old is simply "experiencing the world as best he can as he continues through this process" without his wife of 77 years by his side.

"After 77 years of marriage… I just think none of us really understand what it's like for him right now," Jason says. "We have to embrace that fact, that there's things about the spirit that you just can't understand."

At this point, Jimmy isn't awake every day. Jason says his aunt and uncles visit frequently, though they never know what kind of day their father is going to have.

A few weeks ago, Jason made the three-and-a-half hour drive from Atlanta to Plains for a visit with his grandfather. He says they watched the Braves game, talked about The Carter Center, and the family. He also asked the living legend how he's doing.

"I told him, I said: 'Pawpaw, you know, when people ask me how you're doing I say, 'honestly I don't know,'" Jason recalls. "And he kind of smiled and he said 'I don't know, myself.'"

"It was pretty sweet," he says.

Jimmy Carter with his grandson Jason during a working vacation on St Simons Island in November 1976.

Jeff Carter/UPI/Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Truth be told, a lengthy hospice stay was the last thing the Carter family expected for the 39th president. Jason says that when Jimmy entered hospice care in February 2023, they thought that it would be a matter of days. But, he adds, "God had other plans."

In 2021, the average hospice stay among Medicare patients was 92 days. Half of the patients spent 17 days or less.

One wonders if being at home in the tiny Southwest Georgia town that raised him and held him close through the biggest and smallest parts of his extraordinary life has played a role in Jimmy's longevity.

"[Plains] is the place that has given him the greatest support and it is the only place where he would go through this part of his life," Jason says. "That's his home in every way, and he really cherished that time and that support."

He describes Jimmy's connection to his hometown as "truly remarkable."

"I think the fact that he and my grandmother both came from that small town—it's a 600 person village, really—and it's not near any interstate and it is truly out in the country and it is a fundamental part of who he is and who he has been for his whole life," Jason says. "There is no other place in the world that he would be at peace other than Plains."

Main Street in downtown Plains, Georgia, in 2016.

gnagel/Getty Images

Plans to honor and preserve the Nobel Peace Prize winner's legacy have been in place for a very long time. There will be a state funeral in Washington, D.C. and all the pomp and circumstance befitting a former president. There will also be smaller, more intimate memorials in Plains… and in similar little towns around the world that Jimmy touched throughout his life of service.

Jason says that the home that his grandparents lived in since 1961 will also be donated to the National Park Service for people to visit.

"It is such an American story... to go to Plains and see the house that my grandparents built and lived in for all their time and came home to after being president," he says. "It really tells a remarkable story of what people can be brought forward by our politics. It is a really incredible story to go from that little town to the White House and back again."

That's because for Jimmy and Rosalynn, everything always came back to Plains.

BRYNN ANDERSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Jason says that the most memorable part of the grand, multi-day celebration of his grandmother was seeing the entire town come out to watch the family process from the church to her final resting place.

"That was the part that we'll remember the most, because the connection to that town and to that small community in rural Georgia, really is the most important thing in their lives," he says.


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