I met Elizabeth Edwards briefly during the summer of 2007. I was in Oklahoma City, attending a conference of The Compassionate Friends, a bereavement support organization for parents, grandparents and siblings. Mrs. Edwards was one of the keynote speakers.

This was during a time when the path of life would take many twists and turns for Elizabeth. Just a few months prior to the conference, Elizabeth had learned that her cancer had returned and was now malignant–all the while, her husband was making a presidendial bid for the White House. This was also a time when, unknown to Elizabeth, her husband had continued an extramarital affair, which would lead to the birth of a child out of wedlock six months after the conference.

Although many people knew about Elizabeth Edwards because of her courage in facing cancer while supporting her husband, the attendees of The Compassionate Friends conference had the privilege of getting to know Elizabeth as the bereaved mother of a cherished son.

Elizabeth spoke with candor and passion about “Wade” and the impact his loss had on herself and her family. She tugged at our hearts as she described the day when, sobbing in grief, she collapsed in the aisle of the local grocery store when she spotted the Cherry Coke, Wade’s favorite drink.

Elizabeth was scheduled for a book-signing following her keynote address. Hundreds of people lined up to meet her with their copies of “Saving Graces” in hand. I will never forget her kind eyes, and warm smile, as she greeted each person with compassion, knowing she was reaching out to others who were walking the same grief path as she had done.

God bless Elizabeth Edwards, an unforgettable woman. If there is a place called Heaven, there surely is a place there for her!

Anne Dionne

Anne Dionne’s world was turned upside down on May 5, 2001, when her 19-year-old son whom she adored was killed in a car accident. Since that day, Anne’s mission is to choose to live every day to the fullest and to appreciate the gifts each day has to offer. Through Anne’s involvement with The Compassionate Friends, she is a former Coordinator for the Online Support Community. She also was a workshop presenter for an annual conference of The Compassionate Friends. Anne also co-authored the book “Every Step of the Way: How Four Mothers Coped with Child Loss.” Anne resides in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, with her husband, Steve. They have one adult daughter, Kelly, and two adorable grandpugs! Anne is a registered nurse and is employed as an Embedded Care Coordinator for a family practice in her area. Anne continues to share her personal story of loss and hope with various church groups and local communities through writing and public speaking. It is in reaching out to help others that Anne finds healing and recovery through her own grief journey. Anne was a guest on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart” talking about “How Four Mothers Cope with Loss.” To hear Anne being interviewed on this show by Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley, go to the following link: https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/44298/four-mothers-coping-with-loss

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