Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Resilience and hope

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.


  1. "I wish that each of us could have the grace to live and die with such love and gratitude."

    Each of us could if each of us desired that grace and dignity.

  2. yeah i think she might have been a nice one to know...and it was sad to hear of her passing tonight...

  3. It is always amazing to me...some people go through such painful struggles and barely seem to flinch.

  4. I, too , was so sad to hear she had passed. She was indeed a strong, faithful woman who put up with MUCH crap and pain from a husband with no soul.

    Thanks fully she is painless and free today.

    Good post, as always, Syd.

  5. I really admire her spirit, and the grace with which she spoke.

    What a strong message to the world.

  6. As much as I respect her, I also have often wondered at the way she supported and propped up that man she was married to, even in the midst of her life-threatening illness.
    Well. She should rest in peace. She did good while she was here.

  7. I'm so glad you wrote this remembrance of her, Syd. She really lived those words that she wrote and, as a North Carolinian, I am proud to say that she was a neighbor. (and she never tore down her husband...who, in my opinion, will always be sorry that he didn't treasure her more while he had her.)

  8. Syd,
    It's funny, I also posted a tribute to Elizabeth before I read your post. I mentioned that she was a decent person in the title of my post. Decent indeed.



  9. She must have had a spiritual program of some sort. I remember her honesty, her willingness to share her struggles and her successes.

  10. I felt sad about her passing too. My mother died on December 9, 1989 of a broken heart. She was 60 and had breast cancer. My dad left her for another women two years before she died. The cause of death on the death certificate was metastized breast cancer. But I know better.

  11. It seems she kept her spirits up despite what was going on around her.
    Today she will rest in peace.

  12. Her passing made me sad. Such a graceful strong woman. I read that she lived her life in forgiveness...she once bought a small gift for the baby of her husbands mistress to give to the baby's mom and when asked why...she said, "That is what mom's do for one another." Such grace.

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  14. She's most definitely an amazing lady, and I hope she's found peace at last. The struggle may have ended for her, but I don't believe it will have been in vain in the end.


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