I didn’t have a single conversation with Elizabeth Edwards, but something about her passing yesterday struck a sadness in me. I found out she passed through a facebook status, a single line reading, RIP Elizabeth Edwards. As soon as the news entered my spectrum, I told my husband, “Elizabeth Edwards died this afternoon.” He sighed and said, “Oh, that’s sad. Why does her passing effect you so much?”
It is that question from my husband that prompts this post today. Even as I told my husband the news of her death, I felt a punch in my own stomach. From my vantage point, I know she endured many adversities, including the very abrupt death of her sixteen year old son Wade, her subsequent pregnancies at 48 and 50, her husband’s very public scandal with his mistress, and of course, her very candid cancer battle. At the time of her death, she was surrounded by her three children.
It is this one fact conveyed in the news story that brought me to tears.
Her oldest daughter is Cate is 28. Elizabeth will not see her daughter in her wedding dress or watch her walk down the aisle. She won’t be there to see Cate give birth to her own children. Her second oldest daughter Emma is only twelve years old. Emma won’t be able to run to her Mom to talk about all those teenage angst moments or share her giddiness when she gets her driver’s license. Her son, Jack, is only ten. Elizabeth won’t be able to hug him tight or tuck him at night.
She will miss so many moments in her children’s lives. And that is what speaks to me most about her passing. As a mother, I can’t imagine my daughter doing anything without me bearing witness. Especially all of the milestone moments. I act as a lighthouse for my daughter. When she is happy or sad, her eyes dart all around to find me and she looks to me to illuminate and highlight what she is feeling. I am there for empathy, for love, for comfort, for her daily sustenance.
I can’t even fathom how Elizabeth Edwards continued to perservere, knowing that she wouldn’t be there for the moments in her children’s lives. She spent the last six years preparing for her finale, writing letters to her children and writing two books, I suspect, for her children.
In her final days, she wrote, “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.”
My hope is Elizabeth Edwards is reunited with her sixteen year old son Wade, serving again as his lighthouse after all of these years.
I was so upset yesterday, too. And like your husband, mine was baffled why I was so sad. I especially couldn’t help thinking about little Jack. To lose your mother at age 10…tragic.
Me too, Rudri. Me too.
You shine a bright light with your words!
Thanks Cathy. Appreciate you stopping by on the blog post and commenting.
Elizabeth Edwards was a wonderful human being and even though i did not know her personally she touched my life ..May she Rest in Peace and God give her children and family the strenght they need in this difficult time.
Thanks Sandhya. I think because she acted with such grace, we felt like we wanted to know her personally. As mothers, of course, we feel for the kids and how they won’t be able to have her physical presence in their life.
An amazing woman of strength~
I understand, we all do being women and mothers ourselves, Rudri. I have *chills* whenever another news story comes across the television/internet regarding Elizabeth’s life, death and now her funeral arrangements. I am so sad for her children. John , he will have to spend the rest of his days knowing what he did to such a great woman and although we all deserve forgiveness for our actions because “we are only human.” I can’t imagine a more horrific life than his right now having to look into the eyes of his children from here on out and having to explain his actions for the rest of his days?!! Our days are numbered and cancer keeps robbing all of us of some of the greatest persons that have ever lived. ;(
I agree Angie. Cancer has such a overpowering and firm grip. And yes, it continues to rob us of some of the niceset people.
The news upset me as well. This is a very tender tribute to her. Thank you. A woman of grace…I felt Princess Di also a woman of grace. I think how a woman carries herself throughout her own life circumstances sometimes give us a glimpse of true beauty, grace that arises from the ashes.
I agree Suzi. The things that Elizabeth Edwards had to deal with her not easy. Some would say the death of her son was enough trajedy for one lifetime. The fact that she acted with grace despite her own obstacles is quite amazing to me.
I was so sad yesterday too. Elizabeth Edwards carried herself with grace and dignity . Most of all my thoughts were with her children, who will forever miss her!
What a beautiful metaphor for motherhood, Rudri. I too was very sad about this amazing woman’s death. I was reading the article in the paper saying she hadn’t much time left when my husband said, “Oh, she died today.” My heart aches for those children! But I know that they must have some of their mother’s strength, courage, and resilience, and that her light will continue to burn for them.
Thanks Diane for your words. I hope, because Elizabeth left her own words behind, in her letters and her books, that her children learn about her powerful light.
What a lovely and thoughtful post and tribute to a wonderful woman. Her passing made me stop and think too. And the thoughts are painful, almost too much to bear, but every now and then it is important, I think, to have such thoughts so that we remain aware of the life we have and hold.
Aidan, I agree. It is stories like this that make me want to hold my own family close and cherish all of the moments, good and bad, with my own daughter.
Your perspective was moving. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comment.
Thinking of her children and all they will miss. That is what hit me the hardest, too.
So much of it was sad to me. Mostly, yes, her kids, but also that she had such unhappiness over the past few years with her husband.
“When she is happy or sad, her eyes dart all around to find me and she looks to me to illuminate and highlight what she is feeling.” Beautiful.
The one thing that brought me a little comfort was thinking that, yes, she is finally with her sweet Wade again. It’s so very sad, but the grace she showed in her last years, months, days, is such a beautiful lesson for those she left behind, and for us.
I cried, too. I had trouble making it all the way through the NYT article in one sitting without crying some more. Her status update was the best use of Facebook I think I’ve encountered yet – so graceful and real. I was sad for her and for her children, and I related so closely because Elizabeth Edwards always seemed so warm and motherly and strong, and I’ve lost people with children, and I’ve lost people who were others’ children. It’s tragic but real – and the legacy of life-to-its-fullest that she leaves is a great inspiration and reminder.
Rudri, your post made me cry!! I was so touched by Elizabeth Edward’s death as well. My biggest fear is losing one of my kids, and my second biggest fear is not being there for them as they navigate this big, crazy world. I truly hope she is with her son Wade and that she is at peace.
Beautiful and touching post – thankyou 😉