Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards


I was very sad to hear of Elizabeth Edwards passing.  I knew of her husband, John Edwards, before he ran for President.  I had read his book, Four Trials, in college.  It was a great book to read, not only because he talked about the law, but be because he discussed the loss of his young son as well.  It was touching and sad and on some level, I related to his pain because I had just lost two grandparents in less than two years. I know nothing could compare to the loss of a child, but my grief was deep and it helped me to hear someone else talk about that sort of pain.  He talked about Elizabeth a lot in his book and he spoke so highly of her.  You really got an image of this strong woman and mother.

She seemed so smart to me.  She had been a lawyer as well.  One of my favorite stories that John Edwards told in his book was the how they met.  They were in the same law school class at UNC, and their professor was trying to explain a complex legal theory on the board.  During the professor's rambling, Elizabeth raised her hand, and said "Professor, that is about as clear as mud."  Anyone that's been in law school or any college lecture class, knows that takes tremendous excusemyfrench balls to do.  Law school is scary and your professors are smart and everybody else is smart (well most every, some people just pretend), so the fact that she spoke up and told it like it was showed me that she was a strong, smart woman.

I read her book after John Edwards lost the presidential bid.  It was about dealing with grief.  It talked again about the loss of her son.  It was a hard book to read.  I think mostly because I haven't lost a child and I'm not a mother yet.  It was so hard to read, I think, because a mother's loss is probably the most painful thing a woman could ever go through.  To read about this strong person and how literally she became crippled with pain from the loss of her 16 year old son was so heartbreaking.  In the book, she talked about how about a year after her son's death, she was in the supermarket and walked down the beverage aisle and glanced at a row of Dr. Pepper's.  That was her son's favorite drink and she said she just collapsed right there in the middle of the aisle.  She said she lay there sobbing for 20 minutes.  I think you get better, but you never truly heal all the way.

When the affair broke out, I hated the whole thing.  It was so seedy and gross and disgusting.  One, to throw away a marriage over sex in a low rent motel is such a tragic thing.  Second, I had read his book and he gave the impression of such a good, honest and moral guy.  I really had a high opinion of John Edward's because his love for her seemed to be so real.  By this time, this couple had 4 children and been through one of them dying.  Then to know, she had cancer.   I know people make mistakes and this happens everyday, but the death of a marriage due to infidelity is still heartbreaking.  I think the whole thing was so beyond her comprehension.  I feel like when your as strong as she was, and something like this happens, and you've lost a child, and your dealing with cancer, you just go into flight or fight mode.  She definitely chose to fight.  Even though the end of her life was marked by such scandal, she always seemed to keep her head held high.  Of course I didn't know her personally, but through her book and her actions , I learned that you can always be a strong woman, even if you need to lay in an grocery aisle and cry.


JMW said...

I've thought of her often this week. I feel so sad for her kids. I then thought about her being reunited with Wade. How wonderful that must be. :)

CalypsoInTheCountry said...

Thanks for sharing this great info about Elizabeth Edwards. I was so sad when I heard she had passed away because I felt like I just started to get to know her on the Nate Berkus show. Nate did such an awesome interview with her and I got to see what a beautiful person she was. She was so strong yet so warm and my heart just breaks for everyone who was close to her. By the way - I love your blog!

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