Elizabeth’s “Risiliency”

Resiliency: after being bent, compressed or stretched, the power to recover in form or position; bouncing back from depression, illness, adversity or the like.

Elizabeth Edwards life will forever be a model towards the development of risliencie’s sought after quality, as she died from Cancer last Tuesday at the age of 61. She was surrounded by her family in their home at Chapel Hills, North Carolina.

Elizabeth’s life brought her a Tri-Fecta of misfortune; the sudden death of her son Wade at 16 in a bizarre 1966 car crash; a betrayal in her marriage, and finally, the recurrence of cancer after  a few years of remission. It took her life.

Elizabeth was brilliant and drop-dead-gorgeous. She met her husband and Vice-Presidential Candidate John Edwards in Law School, micro-managing his campaign in 2004. But on the day after the ticket with John Kerry lost she was diagnosed with a tumor in her breast. Not to be deterred from that quest. she waited a little to long to tend to it. In her typically resilient manner, she hadn’t believed it would be her end.

After receiving treatment, she went into remission and expected to be among the fortunate who left the nightmare behind, but fate had other resolutions in mind. When John led the polls in 2008 she fell, cracking a rib. The X-Rays showed the cancer had metastasized to her bones. The future was uncertain in time, but the outcome was clear: eventually it could and probably would kill her. In spite of it, Elizabeth had the power of spiritual recovery even in the face of that certain fate.

In an interview from Chapel Hill she said that Cancer had given her the right to say anything that she wanted:

“I’m not praying for God to save me from cancer. God will enlighten me when the time comes. And if I’ve done the right thing, I will be enlightened. And if I believe, I’ll be saved. And that’s all he promises me.”

Yet uncertain times came in the consideration of her faith; Elizabeth put serious doubt upon the death of her son, whose car had been literally blown off the highway by the wind, which she saw as the hand of God:

“What kind of God do I have that doesn’t intervene—in fact, may even participate—in the death of this good boy?”

Were it not for the central theme in the Edwards Campaign of a National Health Care Bill that Elizabeth had a blazing passion for, it’s conceivable that we would not have the present Law. Elizabeth’s work helped build the frame which eventually came to be law after a 50 year fight.

Her role as a wife came to task, for she knew about John’s affair before the re-occurrence of the cancer, yet they pressed ahead though she fell victim to her own ambition, bouncing back in true Elizabeth form, never letting the cancer’s eventual death sentence effect her tenacity for life, taking it “One Day at A Time”. But later, She had moments of reticence in thinking that had been the time during which she should have come forward, insisting on his stepping down. Remarking,”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….” she forgave him.

In her final moments, with John and her family surrounding her, she was more concerned about them then she was of herself, insuring them that she would be okay; that no matter where she was she would forever have her arms surrounding them with love.

We have all heard this observation: “People are beings of light, leading a human experience.” Elizabeth’s life was a human anomaly in that she suffered, but never gave into despair or misery, bearing her moments of strain alone, fortified by her faith,…….one of her own understanding.

Elizabeth was what we would all like to be: resilient. Able to bounce back from life’s surely arriving moments of challenge, taking them with acceptance and moving on to traverse the experiences we have yet to come in the spirit of recovery’s mantra: “One Day at A Time”.

To her good fortune, Elizabeth was neither an alcoholic nor an addict, yet as many in recovery she was a mother and a wife. A patriot of the noblest variety and a true example of seeking balance through courage, faith and perseverance, she was patient and tolerant, virtuous qualities we all seek to acquire.

She was human. Elizabeth was resilient. She is and always shall be an inspiration for adapting to my own life’s foibles and unexpected challenges, while I seek her model of enlightenment.

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2 thoughts on “Elizabeth’s “Risiliency”

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