It would seem Elizabeth Edwards has been informed that further treatment for her cancer is futile. She has released the following message:
“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 was able to briefly meet Mrs. Edwards at a United Steelworkers event during the Pittsburgh Labor Day Parade in 2007 where she greeted my daughter Gabrielle (who had no idea who she was) with open arms. My thoughts are with her and her family during this extremely difficult time in their lives.
UPDATE: Very, very sad news. Elizabeth Edwards death was reported less than an hour ago. The world has lost another beautiful person to this scourge that is cancer. May she rest in peace.
UPDATE II: I am lucky in that I get to both drive my daughter in to school in the morning then home from her after school care when I get out of work every day. These drives offer invaluable one on one time with her that is usually filled with mundane discussions about various topics ranging from her school activities, friends and daily challenges to headier topics often prompted by the fact that I listen to NPR, CSPAN and other news and talk channels on the satellite radio. I knew today would prompt a difficult discussion because as soon as she got into the car she overheard Keith Olbermann mention the passing of Elizabeth Edwards.
I took the opportunity to remind her of the time pictured in the photo above and then let her know that this woman who held her had passed away.
Then silence there was silence.
After a few minutes I noticed that she was crying and when she realized I saw her crying she tried to pass it off. “I am not really crying dad, I was just thinking about if we lost Puck (one of our dogs).”
I explained that being sad about losing someone and crying about it is normal and we proceeded to discuss all of her fears about death and dying. I quickly found myself recalling to her the day just two years ago when I sat at my grandfathers bedside as he slipped from this world and began crying as well.
In short, it was certainly a sad overall experience prompted by the passing of an incredible woman who touched both of our lives more than she could possibly know. I will always cherish the photo above and the fact that this woman, who at the time of this photo was fighting with cancer, cared so much about public service that she put her life on hold to help her husband seek the highest office in the land by humoring a dolt like me by posing for a photo with my little girl.