Only 24 hours after news that her cancer had spread and is no longer treatable hit the media, we have learned that Elizabeth Edwards has lost her battle with the disease.
Edwards, a mother of four, was best known as the separated wife of former Senator John Edwards, a Democrat from North Carolina and 2008 presidential contender. The couple had four children together. Their eldest, Wade, died in a car accident in 1996.
Edwards had a background in law, but left the field shortly after the death of her son. Since then, besides assisting her former husband in his political career, she also authored two books — Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers, and Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities.
Edwards was diagnosed in 2004 with breast cancer, which went into remission with treatment, but returned in 2007 while her husband launched his 2008 presidential run. The couple disclosed the illness while continuing on the campaign trail. The cancer subsequently moved on to her bones, where it was determined to be incurable but treatable.
In January of 2010, Edwards and her husband became legally separated after it was disclosed that John had fathered a child with a videographer from his 2008 presidential campaign. They were expected to formally divorce next month once North Carolina’s mandatory one year waiting period had expired.
Yesterday’s announcement that her cancer had spread to her liver and that she had left the hospital in order to return home to be with friends and family was a blow to a progressive community who got to know her on the campaign trail, and through her advocacy. Even at the end, she managed to remain positive, stating on her facebook page:
“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.”
Edwards was 61 years old. Below is a video of her confronting conservative columnist Ann Coulter with her characteristic class and strength.