Elizabeth Edwards: Please Take a Bow

Elizabeth Edwards was  laid to rest Tuesday, December 7, 2010 after a brave battle with breast cancer. However, some people are more focused on her scandalous marriage and messy divorce than her accomplishments as a mother and woman in the public eye.  Bloggers speculate on whether Elizabeth will be remembered as a fighter or a victim. Personally, I will remember her as one of my heroes.


Even in the face of extreme adversity, Elizabeth Edwards always presented herself as a classy lady. She was aware of her cancer while her husband ran for office but reassured women all over the world that she would be fine She kept a smile on her face, cared for her family and put her husband’s career before her own needs. Those are the actions of a devoted mate—a winner.

Elizabeth and I were diagnosed at the same time with the same type of breast cancer.  That is where the similarities stop. While Elizabeth’s husband deserted and then embarrassed her with extramarital activities that resulted in a love-child, my husband quit work to stay home and care for me. This type of love and devotion is not unusual. I believe it is the same devotion Elizabeth would have displayed to any member of her family. Two days before Elizabeth’s death, a close friend of mine was also laid to rest after succumbing to triple negative breast cancer. Like Elizabeth Edwards she too had lost a son. However, she died in the home of her ex-husband from whom she had been divorced for years. Her needs became his focus. He cared for her in her last days and was her devoted friend to the bitter end. My point is: do not judge all men by Elizabeth’s ex-husband. There are wonderful, devoted mates, ex-husbands, and friends in this world.


Unfortunately, Elizabeth Edwards did not marry one of them. When someone is going through a life threatening illness, they must choose their battles. Elizabeth chose to concentrate on surviving and providing for her children in the face of her possible demise. She encouraged a positive relationship between her children and her ex-husband rather than driving a wedge between them. Their future was more important to her than her husband’s past. I don’t consider that the actions of a weak victim. I consider them the wise choices of a strong woman. Elizabeth was a fighter who won the hearts of people as she bared her soul, and shared her insights as a single mother undergoing treatment during challenging times.  And, she did it without publically whining or playing the blame game. I believe she realized that life was too short and precious to waste it on negative behavior—another sign of a winner.
Life is a bed of roses. Roses do have thorns. Elizabeth had her share of scratches.

I have always lived by the saying, “How someone treats me is their karma. How I respond is mine.”  Despite insurmountable adversities that included the loss of a child, public humiliation, and TV interviews while battling a painful disease, Elizabeth Edwards always responded to personal questions like a lady.

Please, take a bow Elizabeth Edwards. In my book, you are a winner.


About the Author- Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos has penned SURVIVING TRAUMALAND and is working on her second book, SURVIVING RECURRENCE. She is a phone counselor for the R.A. BLOCH Cancer Foundation, a mentor for WE CAN, a contributor to Cape Women On Line Magazine & c4women, blogs on cancer,medical, literary, and spiritual pages listed on her website, and volunteers for many organizations and online cancer groups. Follower her @ website www.survivingcancerland.com, @ http://twitter.com/PsychicHealing, @ http://www.facebook.com/pages/SURVIVING-CANCERLAND-The-Psychic-Aspects-of-Healing/142803307934?ref=m

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