Elizabeth Edwards in her own Words

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.


MORE: Elizabeth Edwards Loses Battle with Cancer

Photo Credit: Wikimedia
by Elizabeth Edwards


Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago


Colin Hope
Colin Hope7 years ago

What a woman, what a Mother and what a human!

Lou R.
Lou Renshaw7 years ago

What a classy woman Elizabeth was. And she is so right. People get to live their own lives, not other people's. A choice for you, might not be the right one for them. But thats okay, and what makes the world go round. I would have been more that her husband did not deserve her support because of all the horrible things he did to her and the marriage. Again, Elizabeth showed far more dignity than I could have. If I were her, he would not have been with me when I died. He never deserved her - she was far too good for her selfish, narcissistic husband. Its always a real shame when the good ones pass away too soon and leave the jerks who will probably outlive everyone.... Hopefully, he will feel her loss forever, and regret what he did for the rest of his life - but narcissists don't really feel, they fake it. Thats how they live with themselves. Rest in peace, Elizabeth. You deserve it....

Siti Rohana
Siti R7 years ago

we are in no position to judge if we are not the ones even reaching out; helping them up.

Martha Pendino
Past Member 7 years ago

Kudos, Elizabeth, and may you be blessed with peace and happiness.

Bon L.
Bon L7 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Athena C.
Athena C7 years ago

She was a person of grace and dignity throughout her battle with cancer and throughout her husband's betrayal of their marriage. Heaven awaits for another star in heaven tonight.

Nancy W.
Nancy Wang7 years ago

May her children find peace and healing from their loss of an amazing model for what is best about being human. Blessings to them all. Time. Time will be their healer. So sorry. She would have been an amazing president. What a boldly courageous and strong woman she was - an angel.

Susan S.
Susan S7 years ago

She faced her struggles with poise and grace. May she rest in peace.

Dana W.
Dana W7 years ago

Bless you and rest in peace, Elizabeth. Cheers to you for standing up for yourself and expressing it in such a succinct and eloquent way. I'm sure your children will sorely miss your presence in their lives.