|Elizabeth Edwards at Stand Up To Cancer
Photo © Getty Images/Fredrick M. Brown
The family of Elizabeth Edwards reported Monday that her breast cancer had spread beyond the breast and bones to her liver. This afternoon, they reported that she has died. Family sources say that all three children, as well as John Edwards, were with Elizabeth at her own home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Her doctors had hospitalized her last week and treated her, and then advised her that further treatment for her cancer would be unproductive. Elizabeth Edwards announced that she would stop taking treatment for her Stage 4 breast cancer and transition to palliative care.
Edwards was 61 and had been diagnosed with breast cancer when husband John Edwards was in the presidential race of 2004. She recounted her diagnosis and the political whirl she was involved in with her book, "Saving Graces." Then in March 2007, it was discovered that her cancer has progressed to metastatic, spreading to a bone. In 2008, John Edwards was making a bid for the U.S. Presidency while his wife was fighting breast cancer. During the campaign, he met videographer Rielle Hunter, with whom he had a daughter. Not until January 2010 did Edwards publicly acknowledge the child as his own. John and Elizabeth Edwards separated soon after his confession.
Elizabeth Edwards had four children: Wade, Cate, Emma, and Jack.Â Wade died as a teenager in an unexplained one-car accident. His parents mourned him, his mother especially so. Daughter Cate is a 28-year old lawyer, following her mother's chosen profession. Emma is 12, Jack is 10 - both younger children were conceived with the help of fertility drugs taken after the death of Wade Edwards.
Politically savvy, tough and resilient, Elizabeth Edwards posted a message on Facebook this Monday, saying, "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."
As Mrs. Edwards writes, we don't know how long we will live. Some of us get the chance to say goodbye and some of us have to leave unexpectedly. If given the chance, we can depart with grace and forgiveness despite all the struggles we have endured. Or we can choose to live in such a way that we are always prepared to go at a moment's notice.
What will you remember about Elizabeth Edwards? Leave a comment below.
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