Elizabeth Edwards

After all the pain, the worry, the roller coaster of possibility and disappointment, it comes to this. The acknowledgement of the inevitable is in some ways more painful than the inevitable itself, because it’s the death of hope. Before, plans could be made for months and maybe even years. Now, it’s days, perhaps a week, and the only hope is that the end will not be as awful as everyone knows it can be.

51 replies
  1. 1
    master c says:

    I stumbled on the Althouse discussion last night:


  2. 2
    JCalo says:

    I hope her last days are peaceful and comfortable. She has been through so much. Hers is such a sad tale.

  3. 3
    El Tiburon says:

    Truly tragic. I lost my Mother the same way. The only positive is being able to say your goodbyes. If that is really ever possible.

  4. 4
    Scott says:

    Someone will have to summarize Althouse for me. I don’t read her — it’s been my experience that she never has anything a decent person would want to read.

  5. 5
    satby says:

    Elizabeth Edwards is a class act and her impending loss will be felt far beyond her family. The deepest sympathy to her children, especially.

  6. 6
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @Scott: Almost verbatim Althouse: Elizabeth is dying and still hasn’t apologized for lying about John and her relationship issues thus giving the 2008 nomination to the black guy. Just an awful person.

    And if someone with the keys to the place would kindly delete my earlier, intemperate comment I would appreciate it. I was exceptionally cranky this morning but that was still over the top.

  7. 7
    PurpleGirl says:

    I feel for her family. It is indeed a cruel thing when the drugs can no longer help. I lost a college friend this way, after the cancer had spread to her lungs and brain.

    ETA: As to Althouse: We can never truly understand how a romantic/life relationship works, even our own. Althouse should just shut up.

  8. 8
    Lavocat says:

    As we cringe again at the horrifying thought of a President Edwards.

  9. 9
    Skepticat says:

    Several years ago I had the privilege of caring for a dear friend in the last months of her life. She’d fought cancer for nineteen years, with many good years until the disease finally overwhelmed her. Continuing treatment at the end was only for her family’s sake, but at a certain point she found that her entire life was fighting cancer and being terribly ill from the medication; there was nothing else. She decided to end her treatment, and I found her euphoric–because she never had to suffer through chemo again. Her graceful acknowledgment of the inevitable let her live her last months full of love and peace. Death is hardest on those of us left behind. I miss her every day, but I respect her wish to follow Jimmy Buffett’s dictum and die while she was living rather than live when she was dead.

  10. 10
    debit says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil: No, I thought it was totally appropriate.

  11. 11
    harlana says:

    I was heartbroken to hear this yesterday. I want to cry.

  12. 12
    Pancake says:

    Truer words have rarely been written.

  13. 13
    harlana says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil: I second the appropriateness of your first comment.

  14. 14
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Skepticat: My friend also had to make a similar decision. When she went to the hospital for a conference on how the last treatment was working (it had stopped working), she didn’t return home. She went right to the hospice wing. Her family was more upset than she was. She was much more at peace after that.

  15. 15
    Anya says:

    I’m truly saddened by this news. It’s hard to lose a parent this young. I hope for the children’s sake, John Edwards grows up and puts his children first. Elizabeth Edwards is a true inspiration, I hope she is comforted by the love and devotion of her family and friends.

  16. 16
    geg6 says:

    My deepest sympathies to her family, especially her youngest children. My mother went in almost exactly the same way and it was a blessing after all the pain and sickness from chemo. She was in the moment right up until the moment she died as she refused most of the pain meds, too. We got a chance to say goodbye and she chose her moment, I have no doubt simply because she chose the one minute that no one was in the room and would have to watch. She was at peace and so were we. I can only hope the Edwards family can feel the same way when Elizabeth goes.

  17. 17
    aimai says:

    I second everything geg6 said. I just hope and wish for Elizabeth Edwards and her family that her last hours are pain free and full of the love she has shown others and that she deserves to have shown to her. Its been a long, difficult, road but the only blessing in that is that the entire family has had time to come to terms with this terrible loss.


  18. 18
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I admire EE greatly and am incredibly saddened by this news, however expected. Anyone who has read either of her books (especially *Resilience*) will appreciate that she made the decisions she made with the best information and understanding she had at the time. Althouse should just STFU about this. She wasn’t there. Elizabeth was. The end.

  19. 19
    Ash Can says:

    That poor lady. She’s had such a tough row to hoe. Fame and privilege mean nothing in the face of the things she’s had to go through, capped off with this. My heart goes out to her and her children.

  20. 20
    Dave says:

    Cancer is a cruel way to go. I recently lost my daughter to cancer, and mistermix describes it perfectly. You can make plans for the months and years ahead…until you can’t. And then you pray you can be as strong as the loved one you are about to lose.

    Elizabeth Edwards has been an inspiration. And I just hope that when her time does come, it comes with peace and grace.

  21. 21
    John Cole says:

    I wish her cancer would spread to John Edwards dick. I don’t understand how you cheat on your sick wife.

  22. 22
    geg6 says:

    @John Cole:

    I’m sure Newt Gingrich would be happy to explain it. Or John McCain.

  23. 23
    celticdragonchick says:


    Me too. I lost a family member to breast cancer less than two years ago, and it is still an open wound.

  24. 24
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    I was so sad to read this last night. I just lost my uncle to pancreatic cancer and his brother/my uncle was just diagnosed with the SAME cancer. I feel for her children. JE can DIAF for all I care, what he put her through there is not a level of hell dark enough for his punishment.

    EDIT: What John Cole said.

  25. 25
    Jack says:

    Ms. Edwards’ tale is a tragedy, and I am sad for her and her family.

    Ms. Althouse is a flaming bitch who epitomizes the “compassion” of the right wing.

    (Sorry to lower the tone here, but ye gods!!!! How could anyone say what she did?)

  26. 26
    Keith G says:

    About 5,500 Americans die each day. Many of them will pass in poverty and isolation. Some will not be missed much less wept for. There will be pain; there will be regret; and for some there will be nothing. Some will be relegated to a pauper’s grave, disposed under the witness of a county employee.

    Just saying.

    5,500. Amazing, the 9/11 attacks did not even double the daily death rate. And for that….

  27. 27
    eemom says:

    I wish her cancer would spread to John Edwards dick.

    John Cole, this is why we luv ya no matter how much you piss us off.

    Peace to Elizabeth. My heart aches for the children.

  28. 28
    Tattoosydney says:

    I wish her peace and a quiet death. If she never did anything else good in her life (and of course, she did), then the simple act of fronting Ann Coulter and making her squirm would be enough for me to salute Mrs Edwards fondly.

  29. 29
    chopper says:

    i lost my father to cancer about 4 years back. when it came back the second time he refused chemo because it really wrecked him the first time.

    i miss him so much.

  30. 30
    chopper says:

    and yes, i too wish the cancer would spread to john edward’s dick as well. and newt’s, and mccain’s, and every other scumbag who cheats on their sick spouse.

  31. 31
    Damned at Random says:

    I’m glad to see she opted for hospice- it’s a great program. I lost a friend this way – breast to bone to liver and death in hospice care at home. The liver cancer was either much less painful than the bone cancer or the pain management was excellent – maybe both- so I think EE is probably comfortable and surrounded by love ones – there are worse ways to die.

    She’s been fighting this battle for what – 6 years? – and the care she has received gave her the opportunity to spend 6 critical years with her little ones. I’m sure in her mother’s heart that made all the unpleasantness of the chemo and surgery a price she was glad to pay.

  32. 32

    My thoughts go out to Elizabeth Edwards and her family. I lost my mother to cancer ten days before what was supposed to have been my wedding day — which we replaced with some very private stuff in which Mum could share.

    Which is to say Mistermix is right: you make the plans you can, and when you can’t, you shift. And whoever said it above is right, at least in my family’s case: the strength of my Mum was extraordinary, and the last of the many gifts she gave our family. I hope (and trust) the Edwards family receives the same.

  33. 33
    DBrown says:

    My thoughts are with her and her family – I lost a friend recently after they made the same decision. I had more trouble accepting it than she did (giving up the battle but I know it was the right call.) I know a little of what she (both my Friend and Ms. Edwards) had/will be going through as well as her family and friends – it is bitter to consider this path but all of us will face similar issues in our own future relative to ourselves.

    Dave, I am so very sorry for your unbelievable lost – my thoughts are with you. To lose a child is the worse fear anyone can ever have and to face it, and live through it has to be terrible. I am so very sorry for your lost. I do believe that you will meet your daughter again, so try not to despair.

  34. 34
    Mary Jane says:


    My deepest condolences, Dave. I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child. My heart goes out to you.

  35. 35
    Brachiator says:

    This is just sad. I hope that Elizabeth finds comfort and support from her family and loved ones. And that includes John Edwards, if that is her wish.

  36. 36
    Dave says:

    @Mary Jane: @DBrown:

    Thank you for your words. It’s a sorrow and pain I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Even Sarah Palin. :) (Black humor helps sometimes…)

    What I remember most about my daughter during that time is how she handled it. She took dance, took trips, ran around…was a typical kid. She never let it define her. Which is why I was (and still am) impressed by Elizabeth Edwards. Her grace during all of this has been amazing. And her decision now is equally amazing. She’s a remarkable woman.

  37. 37
    Dr. M says:

    I am an oncologist at the tail end of my career. I have cared for about 1500 women with breast cancer. What I see for the most part is that peace and healing comes with the end of life. There are husbands who are devastated as my father was, but that is uncommon. I have never had a husband leave a wife which makes me think that politicians are not made of the same stuff as the rest of us.
    My thoughts and best wishes to Elizabeth and her family. Turn your back on fear and embrace love; this actually works.

  38. 38
    Tsulagi says:

    @John Cole: I’d go with that. Fully, fully understand relationships can be complicated, but some things are simple. Hope she finds some/more peace in her remaining days.

  39. 39
    Cheryl says:

    Yes my father battled cancer for 9 years. Finally the doctors told us that further treatment and nutritional IV that he was given was doing more harm and good and causing him more pain and suffering.

    So we decided to go the hospice route and he was able to die at home surrounded by family and not in a hospital.
    It was comforting to us to know he was going to pass on in the house he worked for, paid for, and loved. He was able to be home with my mother and his family and friends.

    When Mom died of cancer just 2 years later, it was very fast as she died suddenly of complications in the midst of treatment. She died without suffering and quickly. That was what she had prayed for and wanted.

  40. 40
    Cheryl says:

    I feel so badly for her children who are only 10, 12..her youngest ones…as that is far too young to lose a parent….so sad.

  41. 41
    geemoney says:

    @John Cole: I don’t condone it in the least, but my best friend just lost his own wife in just this way. What I would say to you is that when you see people in that situation, dealing with it for years on end, in all aspects of their life, there is no release. Everything gets turned up to 11 and they are moved to a place where they just don’t react they way they normally would.

    I don’t know John Edwards, and he may be a tremendous d-bag, but I do have a pretty good idea of what he’s been going through and that thing just sucks all around, even if, ha ha, he’s not the one dying. Elizabeth Edwards gets released from that massive, steaming pile that she was served pretty soon, and believe me, that’s a blessing given how things have been going for her.

    My point is, it’s easy for people to look at this from pretty far outside and make judgments about what should/should not be done in a relationship. You haven’t walked a mile in their shoes (as far as I know), so save the public sanctimony. Everyone, and I mean everyone, in that family got a really raw deal. Welcome to the human condition.

  42. 42

    @geemoney: I have been in this situation. Any man that would cheat on his wife during a time like this is a worthless piece of shit.

  43. 43
    fraught says:

    Dick cancer. gaaagh!!!

  44. 44
    Tsulagi says:

    @John – A Motley Moose:
    Agree, Moose. I’ve been in that situation too, but as a son.
    Eleven years ago mom was diagnosed with (believe this was the term) multifocal ductal carcinoma. She had three invasive tumors each larger than 1cm. Cancer had spread past her lymph nodes as confirmed by PET scans. Her cancer was very aggressive; 10 months earlier her first mammogram was completely clear. Her odds of not making it were way into double digits.

    Through the multiple surgeries, radiation, high-dose intravenous chemo, and other therapies, dad never left her side. Damn near literally. He spent his time ensuring she got the best treatment possible and that those delivering it were 100% focused. If he had gone the John Edwards route, I would have zero respect for him. Given the man dad is, he wouldn’t either. He may be a Republican and occasionally a pain in the ass, but he’s a good man.

  45. 45

    @Tsulagi: I’m usually a fairly non-judgmental person. I’ve screwed up so much in my life that I don’t think I have any right to judge others. However, I draw the line on this and on child abuse, sexual or otherwise. I thought this before I had to go through it with someone I loved and feel even more strongly about it now. I met a person through my business that cheated on his wife while she was going through breast cancer treatments. I ended up opting out of our agreement because I couldn’t stand to work with him. It cost me a couple thousand dollars, but at least I could sleep at night.

  46. 46
    JenJen says:

    Rest in peace, Elizabeth.

    You know, that family has been through the kind of turmoil and tragedy that is simply unimaginable for most of us. My thoughts are with their children tonight. It just breaks my heart.

  47. 47
    Diane says:

    Peace to Elizabeth and strength to her family, especially, her children.

  48. 48
    geemoney says:

    @John – A Motley Moose: Like I said, I don’t agree with it, but I can see how some people in that situation would react that way. I’m glad you took the high road, but I can’t bring myself to condemn him, just because his wife is now dying. It is a situation so completely crapulent that I think it’s beyond the pale of normal reactions.

    It’s like this: the act of cheating on your wife is either bad, or not. The surrounding circumstances don’t make a difference. Why is it worse now that he cheated on her? Morally, it’s the same thing, we just feel a lot more pity for her now.

    And back to my original point, I don’t know what the dynamics were in the Edwards’ relationship. There are way too many variables to say that, yeah, he’s a waste of skin for cheating on his dying wife. The personal dynamics in that situation are all fucked up. Like I said, everyone got a raw deal, but not knowing what all was going on between them should give us pause. Otherwise, it’s just an excuse for us to feel high and mighty about how morally superior we would be, in that same situation.

    BTW, I am very, very sorry to hear that you had to go through that. It is unbelievably terrible, even from the perspective of someone once removed.

    Edited to take out some stupid anecdote I included.

  49. 49

    @geemoney: I’m certainly not going to knock you for wanting to give someone the benefit of the doubt. However, I definitely don’t agree that circumstances don’t make a difference.

    For instance, think of a wife that had been in a coma for some time and there was little chance for her to come out of it. That would still technically be cheating, but I wouldn’t think poorly of a husband for having an affair in that situation. Another example: Think of a person stealing a loaf of bread. If the thief is a poor man trying to feed his starving children, that’s one thing. If it is a rich man who steals it from starving children, then that’s another. Exact same crime in both cases, stealing a loaf of bread. Completely different circumstances and each thief should be viewed and judged differently.

  50. 50
    Charley says:

    The woman was dying. What did you expect from her. Did you honestly think a decent woman would take her children’s father away from them under the circumstances.

    What she did was valiant and brave. She needed a commitment from their father that she could leave them in his hands to be raised as she would raise them. Do you think outing him and divorcing him would accomplish what she needed to give her children.

    John Edwards should hang his head in shame. The only possible redemption would be to NEVER affiliate himself with another woman again and devote the rest of his life to raising his children and honoring Elizabeth.

  51. 51
    Jennifer says:

    Sympathies go out to all the children , and other family members, friends, etc. I too have went down the long dark path of losing two family members to cancer, my mother and sister. It is very hard to lose the heart and soul of the family, but you will gain strength in the days and years to come.

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