I was saddened tonight when I heard on the news that Elizabeth Edwards had died from breast cancer. I remember the news when she was diagnosed on the campaign trail, soldiering on for her husband. And after some years in remission, the cancer returned while she was once again helping her husband as he campaigned.
I did not know much about her until she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was an attorney who gave up her career to raise a family and to help with her husband's political aspirations. She believed in him, even when he was unbelievable. And during much of the tragic crumbling of a political and personal life she had stage IV metastatic breast cancer that had spread to her lungs, bones and liver.
She seemed to be such a decent person. I couldn't help but think about the hard times she must have had in the public eye. Being sick and yet continuing to be brave. Putting a brave face to the world while her world is shaken.
I don't know whether Elizabeth Edwards was a member of a 12 step group. But her last message seems to suggest that she espoused spirituality that sustained her through a lot of hardships. I found what she had to say especially profound:
"You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human.
But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful. It isn't possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know."
I would have liked this lady. This evening I am inspired by her and how she lived with hope and resilience. I wish that each of us could have the grace to live and die with such love and gratitude.