Just hours after his 28-year-old grandson died, former President Jimmy Carter broke the news to his Plains, Georgia, church then went on to teach Sunday School just as he always has for years, according to the church’s minister.
It was just two weeks that Carter announced to his church that he is now cancer free.
Carter, 91, arrived about 25 minutes late for his regular Sunday school class at Maranatha Baptist Church — the first time he’d ever been tardy — and announced the death of his grandson.
Carter went on to describe to churchgoers that it was only a few hours earlier that relatives tried unsuccessfully to revive his grandson, Jeremy, with CPR.
“When he got ready to eat supper he told his mother that he thought he would lie down awhile,” Carter said, according to NBC. “His heart quit beating.”
“They were trying to keep his heart going and eventually, later in the night or the wee hours of (Sunday) morning, his heart stopped,” Maranatha Baptist Church Rev. Jeremy Shoulta told CNN.
“(President Carter) was shaken,” he said. “He was obviously sad although he was able to teach and he was able to present the lesson as well as he always has. But it was apparent to everyone there that this was weighing on him very heavily.”
Shoulta urged congregants at the church to pray for the Carter family.
“Our church plays an important role in his (President Carter’s) life and he feels committed to his responsibilities here at the church,” Shoulta said. “His presence at the church today gave him an opportunity to fulfill his obligations to the church and also to feel the loving presence of his faith community.”
This is not unusual for the former president who remained active during his treatment for brain cancer. It was just days after his first session of radiation that Carter was back to teaching Sunday School and just last month he took part in a Habitat for Humanity build in Memphis, Tennessee.
“My most recent MRI brain scan did not reveal any signs of the original cancer spots nor any new ones. I will continue to receive regular three-week immunotherapy treatments of pembrolizumab,” Carter said in a statement at that time.
The 91-year-old former President revealed that news in front of the same Sunday School class he was taught today after the tragic news of his grandson’s death.
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter first became involved with Habitat for Humanity International in 1984 when the former president led a work group to New York City to help renovate a six-story building with 19 families in need of decent, affordable shelter.
Since then, he’s been a champion social justice, tirelessly seeking out ways to help humanity by promoting peace and giving back to society.
Our thoughts are with the Carter family today. Jimmy Carter is a fine example of a Christian who walks to the walk, and doesn’t just talk the talk.
We need more like him.
Image: Katie Darby via Flickr.