Elizabeth Edwards, diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, died Tuesday at the age of 61. She often said she wanted to be in control and define her own life, not be defined by cancer or her husband’s affair. After their separation, she figured out a new way of interacting with her estranged husband that was healthy for her children. Because for years she had been preparing them for what was to come. What Elizabeth called her ‘dying letter’ was really a lesson in living.
At one point Elizabeth wrote, “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.”
A source of inspiration, hers was a struggle of extraordinary dimensions. Elizabeth lived with high political ambition, marital betrayal, advancing cancer and optimistic determination. Her lasting legacy was that she weathered life’s storms with fortitude and grace.
In a recent interview she said that she wanted to be remembered as someone who stood in the storm and, when the wind didn’t blow her way, adjusted her sails. Elizabeth Edwards was a role model for all of us.