It all started off as a friendship in a college choir. Reverend Oscar Carter was a vocalist who majored in music. When he joined the choir looking for a pianist, he met Bessie. Nobody knew that would kick off a love story that would last more than 51 years. Although they got married very young and Oscar – only 23 years old at the time – was scared to commit to something as serious as marriage, he now says that there is nothing he would change in his life today. Every step they made together led to a successful and long-lasting marriage. Over the years they went on many dates, celebrated many birthdays and traveled to different states and countries. They never expected that Bessie would develop Alzheimer’s disease, but the diagnosis came in 2013. Bessie is now a resident of Mustang Creek Estates of Frisco, and despite all the difficulties and changes that come with this disease, Oscar talks about his wife in such a sweet tone it can make anyone’s heart melt. He visits her at the senior living community every day to have lunch with her. He describes her as an incredibly nice woman who has always been generous to everyone around her. Today, Oscar Carter shares their inspiring love story and secrets to a long and successful marriage.
“Bessie used to love dressing up for church on Sunday, and when I noticed it was getting difficult for her to do so I knew something wasn’t right,” said Oscar Carter. “At first I was able to take care of her by myself, but it started to get more difficult every day. This is the first time in over 50 years that we don’t live together, and it is extremely hard, but I know it is best for her. I see her every day, and even though she doesn’t speak much anymore, I know she misses me the way I miss her. Every time I leave, she squeezes my hand goodbye, and I always remind her that I will be back the next day. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease that changes personalities, but it can never take my wife away from me.”
Oscar never thought Alzheimer’s will affect his life, especially not his marriage. Many people don’t think it can happen to them until it does. Bessie spent her life teaching and singing, and she was very good at both. Oscar remembers her beautiful voice, and it hasn’t been easy for him to accept the fact that he probably won’t hear her sing again. However, that doesn’t stop him from showing her unconditional love. The couple lived most of their lives in Detroit and moved to Texas two years ago after a doctor recommended they move closer to their two children. It was a difficult move for both of them, as they had to leave their large ranch house and downsize to be able to fit into their new home. Their marriage has always been about supporting each other. Everything the couple does, they do as a team. Oscar says the most important things in marriage are trust, respect and understanding. Oscar considers himself lucky to be married to a wonderful mother, wife, friend and educator.
“If I could give some advice to younger couples, I would recommend realizing your spouse is your best friend. So many people these days are busy with their careers, but it is important to know how to prioritize, and family should always come first. A lot of couples have difficulties because they don’t work as a team and they are selfish. Being selfless is key to a successful marriage. It is also important to realize that it is a process that takes time, but when you look back a half of a century later, I can guarantee you the feeling will be incredible,” said Oscar Carter.
“Every time Oscar comes to the community, Bessie’s face lights up,” said Candy Jiwa, executive director of Mustang Creek Estates of Frisco. “The moment he comes she is excited to do anything you ask her to, including exercise. He quite literally puts a smile on her face, and it is very heartwarming to watch every day.”
Mustang Creek Estates – whose mission is to provide seniors with high-quality residential-style assisted living and memory care at an affordable price – has additional locations in Allen, Burleson and Keller. Recently, Mustang Creek Estates opened its newest senior living community in Sachse.