Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Edwards faced cruel – some would say vicious – criticism of her decision to continue on her husband’s campaign and bring the kids along after she learned she had breast cancer. The blogger most infamous for her comments has removed her post. But Edwards’ response remains – and it is a lasting monument to her strength, determination and love of her kids. We’re posting it here because it illustrates why her death on Tuesday broke so many hearts.
With all due respect, what you would choose to do is relevant only once: when you choose how to spend your remaining days. I made my choice; because of our lives it was a public choice, but the choice doesn’t belong to the public, it belongs to me. And with all due respect, you have no idea what the quality or amount of the time I spend with my children is.
I am reasonably confident your information is wrong because a reporter from the New York Times who was with us for less than one hour is your source. A reporter, by the way, who asked for time with our children and who, because our children are in fact children, saw good behavior and bad and who reported our wonderful advantures together as if the children and I were ships passing in the night, which is simply not true. Just in case you want to know, when we read the story to Jack (which we did while we watched one of the two baseball games we went to with him this past week), his response was actually very adult: that’s not fair, he said, everyone has good days and bad days. And finally, what I said about Hillary’s choices is that I had made the same choices she had made as a parent, and when I changed my choices I was happier. Just like you don’t get to decide what makes me happier, I don’t get to decide what makes Hillary happier.
I want to be entirely clear. You don’t get to say I am a terrible mother because you think you wouldn’t make my choices in my situation. You don’t get to say that my children don’t want to be with us when you don’t know them and when, parenthetically, you know that happy children can be periodically disagreeable. You don’t get to judge me because you think you know exactly what you would do if you had my disease. I want to be really clear: you don’t know. And if the sun always shines on you — and I pray it does — you will never know.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia
by Elizabeth Edwards