I do not follow the news as I should. I rarely follow politics. Only enough to keep up in conversations and about issues that are important to me around voting time.
So, when following the John Edwards presidential campaign in 2008, I have to admit I did not know a lot about the guy. I thought he was fairly handsome. I thought it was remarkable that he had young children. I vaguely remember hearing of Elizabeth Edward's breast cancer diagnosis. I also vaguely remember her cancer fight seeming minimally affective on her husband's political aspirations. I do not know that I had an opinion one way or another. My memory does not work like that. People's ailments were not something I understood or thought much about until I got sick, selfish as that probably sounds.
Yet, recent news of Ms. Edward's decision to stop treatment followed immediately by her death has affected me greatly. I have read several blog posts. I have heard the news. I have searched for her diagnosis to see if it matches mine. I have searched for the timeline of her treatments. I know the obvious - just because Elizabeth Edwards suffered a cancer re-occurrence does not mean that I will. I hope not.
I just think to myself, "Self, you are so lucky."
Then I think some more. I think of the tears her family must have cried through out their journey - because it was their journey. I think of the fear that must have plagued them for all of the little and big symptoms and side effects that they endured together. I wonder how much her children knew and when they knew it. I think all of these terrible thoughts. I am raw with them, as if they were mine. And I cry for the moments that cancer stole from this family and for the pain it inflicted.
I hope these children find beauty in their mother's fight. I hope they feel her strength encircling them. Her outstretched arms never further away than a warm summer breeze or the quiet reflection of the rain. I bet they do. I bet they find that and so much more. They deserve so much more.
I am inspired by Elizabeth Edwards. Not just by her sensationalized fight against the ravage beast that took her body, but by her spirit. A mother with young children. A fighter, an activist, an intellect and an expert Lego construction helper to her children. I am sad for her family. I am afraid for mine to.
The cancer is something I cannot control. Should it be lying in wait for me, I will go on. Thank you Ms. Edwards. Thank your for leaving your legacy of strength behind. Thank you for reminding me just how fragile we are....and that sometimes, no matter how hard we fight, we do not win. I am awake now. I am a survivor. I plan to keep it that way.