"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." -Lou Reed

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Loss of Elizabeth Edwards

I was all fired up this morning, so angry about the protests planned for the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards today. I am still angry, still fired up, but I realized that I don't want to give words or white space here to the protesters.

I am so saddened by Elizabeth Edward's passing, so sad for the pain she endured in her life. I believe there are a few people that tread through life exemplifying grace in ways so obvious that the word is used over and over again to describe them until it becomes synonymous with their name. Elizabeth was one of those people.

Those of us not in the public eye can say we can “just imagine” what it is like to live through a crisis publicly. But truthfully, it is too much too imagine. Your worst pain, your worst nightmares all out there for strange eyes to see and judge. Pictures that last a lifetime in your head and on paper and computer screens blasted out with headlines that are somehow your life.

In the last years of her life, I am sad to say that this was her life. And still, she remained Elizabeth—human, real, resilient, and always showing grace. I believe she leaves a legacy for her children that will outshine all of the headlines, the controversy, the pain. 

Elizabeth’s life was a lesson in devotion and loyalty. First to her husband and his numerous campaigns both of which she believed in deeply. Her devotion to her children was always evident through her words and actions, and in her oldest daughter Cate’s words about her mother. Cate will deliver her mother’s eulogy today.

I struggle with my own beliefs when things like this happen. I can’t understand why someone like Elizabeth had to endure losing a son (which is enough tragedy for a lifetime), then endure battling with cancer, robbing her of time with her remaining children, and then the betrayal by her husband. I can’t make sense of it. I can’t find a way to say—that makes sense. Because it doesn’t.

I just know I am sad this morning that someone who made a difference in the world, a positive difference, is gone. 

And there is little grace in that.


Anonymous,  December 11, 2010 at 1:17 PM  

Nobody should protest any funeral for any reason...not soldiers and not cancer survivors; not sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, etc.

No matter whether you agreed with her husband politically or supported her cause of cancer research she was still a person with a family who was loved and will be missed. Those people have no souls. You aren't alone. I think a lot of people feel the way you do.

Kim December 11, 2010 at 2:53 PM  

I was so happy to read that the Westboro protest was really non-existent. Here's a quote from an article about the funeral on CNN: "In the end, only five Westboro congregants showed for the protest, which took place in a cold, steady rain."

JC December 11, 2010 at 7:19 PM  

Nicely said. I think a lot people thought of her as brave and thoughtful and yes, grace would have been her middle name.

I too am saddened that she was taken away too soon.

Makes one take each day and cherish what we have.

May she now be at peace ...

David L Macaulay December 11, 2010 at 8:43 PM  

Nicely written - I hadn't hear re any funeral protests. That's crazy

Leximou December 12, 2010 at 7:07 PM  

Elizabeth is but one of many that wore the shoes of grace in a public arena that had betrayal, disgraceful behavior and infidelity splashed onto front page after front page by an uncaring media after the almighty dollar. For some reason, the bulk of public interest seems to ingest such as it does hamburgers from any of the greasy spoons which serve them. To isolate her as a singular example is a dis service to the many through history who stood on podiums next to an apologetic (in recent years only because caught!)or straying spouse. From the Kennedys forward, this seems to be the modus operandi of late. Perhaps her over reported trials during public life will spur at least some of the sensational seeking public to start paying attention to who we elect as our public servants. Just as John Edwards is now exiled in infamy, so too should the Bill Clintons, and a long list of others. May the grace in which she handled humiliation remind us all the reasons for that humiliation should not be tolerated.

Mel December 12, 2010 at 7:45 PM  

I enjoyed reading your words about Elizabeth Edwards. Her life was as unfair as it was filled with grace. I too worried about the loonies who threatened to disrupt her service and was so proud to hear of the human chain organized to keep them far away. The First Amendment has its drawbacks where the demented and cruel are concerned. Her service sounded beautiful and the photos of her children almost broke my heart. Like you, I was affected by her loss and her strength, and compelled to write about her. I hope she rests in peace, and her legacy lives on.

Cheri Pryor December 13, 2010 at 12:14 AM  

I think in life there are those individuals who can handle crisis with such grace and dignity that it gives the rest of us hope that we, too, can model their behavior. And although it seems unfair that one individual would have to deal with so much personal drama so publicly, look at the legacy of hope, love, dedication and resolve she leaves not only to her children but a nation that followed her life story.


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