08 December 2010

Elizabeth Edwards

I was planning on posting a couple of John Lennon songs today.  I certainly wasn't expecting this. When I heard the news, I felt like someone kicked me behind the knees. Then, I began steeling myself for an onslaught of packaged, flowery news stories; of celebrity doctors prattling on about early detection; and of tabloid mags salivating over the prospect of reliving the big scandal.  I flipped on the Today Show this morning and heard a truly bizarre interview with that Dr. Nancy lady about "the good death" and "owning the death."  Wha?  It's been less than 24 hours; it's a little premature, Dr. Nancy.  Obviously trying way too hard for a "more enlightened" news angle. Show some restraint. Wretched hag.

Amid all of the muck, I can't stop thinking about five friends of mine, in particular, who are feeling the unavoidable uneasiness this morning.  Hang on, ladies.  If anyone needs wine this week, you know where to find me.  

When I was trying to diagnose myself on Google, I found an interview with Elizabeth Edwards where she discussed finding her own lump: "I'd like to say that I found it because I was doing a breast exam," Edwards says. "No. I found it because it was just so friggin' large. In fact, I was thinking, 'How could I have not felt this yesterday?'"

I knew exactly what she meant.  How do you walk around with what feels like a ceramic hummel in your boob and not be aware of it?  But it happens. Sure, you wish you could've found it earlier, but at the same time, you were out living your life, not scouring your body, groping for impending doom, or searching for disease in every discomfort or discoloration.  

Be vigilant, but not doomy and obsessive. You'll hear enough about early detection this week so I'll spare you my screed here. :)

I love Edwards' final message that she doesn't want to be remembered for "losing" her battle with cancer.  She wants to remembered for living a good life.  Amen. 

Aside: "I'll save my 'battles' for AT&T's customer service reps."  Mary Elizabeth Williams, a melanoma survivor, discusses why it's time to put to rest the tired cliches of "battling" or "losing the battle to" cancer.

Earlier this year, some opportunist political hacks published a book about the 2008 campaign trail that excoriated Edwards for being a raving lunatic bitch. It was distasteful, poorly sourced, and felt like an unnecessary piling on (but, hey, it sells books). At the same time, I thought, if "bitch" was the worst label these people could attach to Edwards, perhaps she should wear it as a badge of honor.  I felt badly for Edwards but was relieved to hear she wasn't a saint.  If anything, it made me like her even more for being human. 

A Jan 2010 column by writer Connie Schultz was quoted many times after that book came out.  I hope it gets rolled out again when the publicity whores crawl out from beneath their rocks this week to critique Edwards' behavior in and out of the public eye over the past few years. 

"If I were living Elizabeth Edwards' life, I'm not sure who I'd be by now, and that uncertainty is mighty humbling.
We want to believe the best about ourselves. We watch someone else stumble and insist we'd respond differently. But live long enough, and life will bring you to your knees. I have not buried a child. I do not have incurable cancer. I have not been betrayed by the man I love, never had to set eyes on the baby the entire world knows he fathered behind my back.

I know this: I would stumble forward in pieces."


Roving Lemon said...

Hear hear. In some circumstances any kind of forward movement is an achievement. Hell, just staying in one piece is an achievement.

Elizabeth Edwards had to deal with more in her one adult life than some extended families experience in a generation. She made it through with sanity, courage, poise, and kindness, even in the face of unrelenting media scrutiny. Of how many people can that be said?

KJ said...

Perfectly said, RL. xx

Cameo said...

Welcome back F*cker. It's about time you showed up...

LPD said...

KJ, it's good to have you back. Your return to the PU is a fitting tribute to Ms Edwards.

Dr. Nic said...

Spot on Kate!