There is no shortage of “Remembering Elizabeth Edwards” articles. This deluge of information sometimes leads to overload and subsequent dismissal. The passing of a public figure, like with any notable event, is an important opportunity to spend some introspective time alone.
I read through many of those articles and finished feeling unsatisfied by the shallow reporting. I have plenty of memories of Elizabeth Edwards’ news stories. Some stories were good, and some of those stories made me wince at how they intruded on her personal life. After her passing, I wanted to take that perspective and go back in time. I listened to an interview she gave on All Things Considered on May 07, 2009. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103895496)
Edwards engaged in that interview to promote her book, Resilience. This is what she had to say: “If you are going to write a book about resilience, if you have any qualifications, [the qualification] is that you do go ahead and do some of the things you wanted to do in your life and not let those obstacles get in the way.”
With candor like that, it’s no wonder the Obamas released a statement to say, “Many others would have turned inward; many others in the face of such adversity would have given up. But through all that she endured, Elizabeth revealed a kind of fortitude and grace that will long remain a source of inspiration.”
News outlets abound with sensational pieces about Edwards to remind us of her struggles, but instead we can collectively acknowledge her inspiration and maybe incorporate it into our own lives.
Edwards lived an impressive life. Through reading the stories of her feats, I am reminded that whether it is family life, work life or health, there will be challenges. Handling those challenges with humility, grace, and perseverance matters most. As Edwards herself said, “Resilience is accepting your new reality even if it’s less good than the one you had before.”
My heart goes out to those who truly loved Elizabeth. In the times they will spend missing her, they should take great pleasure in knowing her influence will continue to inspire others.
Lauren Muscarella 2010