Elizabeth Edwards-mother, attorney, and best-selling author- lost her brave and very public battle with cancer just after 10 o’clock this morning, December 7, 2010. Born on July 3, 1949, Elizabeth was 61. After a short stay at the hospital over Thanksgiving weekend, she returned to her beloved estate in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Her cancer treatment was stopped as it was no longer productive. It was thought that she’d live for several more weeks, but that was not to be. Elizabeth was surrounded by family and friends, including her beloved sister and estranged husband, John Edwards.
Elizabeth is survived by three of her four children: Cate (Catharine), 28, a Washington lawyer, Emma Claire, 12, and Jack, 10. Her oldest son, Wade, died in 1996 at the young age of 16 when his jeep was blown off the road in a freak accident. A friend of Elizabeth’s posted on Facebook that Wade would be waiting for his mother in Heaven with open arms.
Edwards’ cancer struggle began in 2004 toward the end of the presidential campaign in which her husband, John, was the vice-presidential candidate paired with John Kerry. She was diagnosed the day Kerry conceded the election. Elizabeth discovered a golf-ball sized lump when showering and was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Elizabeth blamed herself for being negligent-not getting a mammogram. She was a role model for many women, however, on how to face this disease. She often said that she didn’t think of herself as dying with cancer, but rather living with it. She was direct in her approach to everything, including cancer.
Elizabeth was the daughter of a U.S. navy pilot, so she had traveled extensively around the world. She met John at the University of North Carolina Law School. He was four years her junior. They married on July 30, 1977. She used her maiden name, Anania, when she was employed in the legal profession. When Wade died, she retired from law. Elizabeth was an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina, where she taught legal writing. She even did some substitute teaching in the Wake County public schools. Much of her time was spent administering the Wade Edwards Foundation.
Elizabeth wrote two books detailing her struggles with cancer and her husband’s infidelity: “Resilience” and “Saving Grace.” She was thrown into the public spotlight when John had an affair-and later a child-with Rielle Hunter.
She opened up about her cancer battle many times on television. Click here to see Elizabeth on Larry King’s show.
Elizabeth recently wrote on her Facebook page, “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.”
Elizabeth’s family put out this statement, “Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth’s presence, but she remains the heart of this family.”