I’m sure everyone is aware by now that Elizabeth Edwards died from breast cancer yesterday. I took the news very badly. I was shocked. We had just heard she was stopping treatment the night before. So quick. So short a life.
I shed tears for a woman I did not know… and maybe more than a few for the women I do know and have known. I am not sad for Liz Edwards in death. She is with her beloved son, Wade, now. I am certain her mother’s soul is singing with happiness for that. I am profoundly sad, however for the trials of her life.
No mother should have to outlive her child. No wife should be made to suffer the very public humiliation and betrayal of her husband’s infidelity or subsequent father of a child. No woman should have her life stolen by cancer. And yet she did. It is a tragedy in itself that rogue cells should lay her low after having triumphed over adversities that would ruin a lesser woman.
And that is precisely why I have been so shaken by Liz Edwards’ death. She was no wilting flower. She was not one to hang her head in humiliation. She was the epitome of a strong woman! She survived more than most. She had money and influence enough to get the best of medical care. And still she died.
Cancer is an equal-opportunity destroyer.
That is the scary part of the legacy Elizabeth Edwards leaves behind. That is the part that makes all of us quake inside and hold our husbands and kids a little bit tighter. But this is the least of Liz’s legacies. Her real legacy is the raising of her children, her unfailing strength, her tireless advocacy and her boundless generosity of spirit.
Elizabeth Edwards did not let cancer, betrayal or tragedy end her life before her heart actually stopped beating. She did not fade away into non-existence. She was an active participant until the very end! She loved. She mothered. She rose above. And she lived!
That is her legacy. That is what we should all remember!
Cross-posted to I Can’t Complain Any More Than Usual