Elizabeth Edwards

At first, I was very surprised by the public sadness over Elizabeth Edwards’ death.

I doubt it would have made national headlines had John Edwards not had a love child with another woman.

But in retrospect, it makes perfect sense.  The Edwards story just had so many layers–a long, triumphant marriage, the death of their first child, their perseverance in having 3 more, political success, a younger woman, a baby, a cover-up.  I mean, this is the stuff of great drama!  Maybe we were all feeling a little guilty for being somewhat entertained by the whole thing and fueling the media storm.

But I think the reaction today mostly comes from the place inside each of us that feels an injustice.  Here is a woman who gave her husband 4 children, is stricken with cancer, and her husband not only cheats on her, but has a child with another woman, and everyone in the U.S. knows about it.  Could the line between the good guys and the bad guys be any clearer?  And to make her even more of a martyr, Elizabeth Edwards seemed the perfect model of grace.

She epitomized both our highest hopes as well as our darkest fears. And she deserves a collective sadness.

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