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I did not know Elizabeth Edwards personally, yet her death last month affected me deeply.  I believe many of us “got” Elizabeth. While she was a brilliant intellect and a relentless defender of health care reform, she was also down to earth mom – shopping at discount stores- juggling the challenges of children, career and marriage.

To lose a child, fight cancer and know the betrayal of a spouse eclipses the kind of adversity most of us will ever experience in our lives. While never minimizing her pain or hiding it, she found purpose and new meaning by turning the grief of her son Wade’s death into a passion for public service. She fought her cancer without ever seeing herself as a victim. Her husband’s betrayal played out in the media for all to see. Remarkably, she was able to be honest about her pain without ever sounding bitter or needing to vilify her children’s father.  We are shocked at her numerous obstacles and are awestruck at her grace, her humor and her courage.

Elizabeth Edwards stands as a role model for all of us. Whatever pain and grief in our own lives, her life inspires us to remember that while we cannot control much of what happens in our journey, we have choices about how it effects us and how we choose to behave. Elizabeth Edwards took no guff, held her head high, and maintained her ethics and class throughout the endless media circus of her tragedy. She chose dignity over denial. Through it all, she was her own person and made no apologies for her authenticity and we loved her for it.

♦♦♦♦

As we move into this new decade, take a moment to pause from the endless lists of resolutions and revelations of self improvement projects to simply enjoy the beauty of the moment. You are just fine as you are right now. You are your most authentic self, experiencing all life has to offer, when you just “be.”   It is not in the “doing” but in the “being” that we truly experience life. We are, after all, “human beings” not a “human doings”. Enjoy the perfection of the moment.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve your life and to be the best you can be, unless it is at the cost of appreciating where you are right now. If we choose to we spend our entire life looking back reminiscing or looking forward to what we long for,  but then we miss this singular moment of  wonderful simplicity.

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8 Comments

  1. CJ Golden on the 26. Dec, 2010 remarked #

    What a beautiful and inspiring role model Elizabeth Edwards was for all of us to follow.
    As I approach the New Year and embark upon working towards being the best ME that I can be, her story will serve me well in remembering that I have the power to focus on what is important: to change my attitude even if I can’t change the circumstances: and to be positive and strong in the face of adversity.
    Thank you, Donna, for bringing us this beautifully written piece, just when it will do us the most good.

  2. Laura on the 26. Dec, 2010 remarked #

    Donna,
    Great post! Thank you for always putting things into perspective. Life is good.

  3. Jeanette on the 26. Dec, 2010 remarked #

    Truly inspiring. I was saddened to learn that she had lost her fight against that terrible disease but she fought a good fight, gracefully and with dignity. A remarkable woman and an example that I hope to learn from and live by.

  4. Judy on the 27. Dec, 2010 remarked #

    Donna,

    Thank you for being there to give us the special words that always “cheer” us on.

  5. Tracy on the 27. Dec, 2010 remarked #

    Donna,

    Thank you for taking the time to recognize a truly amazing woman. How she handled her multiple tragedies and presented herself to the world highlighted her grace and dignity. Her lessons should never be forgotten. Also, thank you Donna for providing all the support and insight for those going through divorce.

  6. Jan on the 27. Dec, 2010 remarked #

    Donna,

    What beautiful tribute to Elizabeth Edwards. Well said.

    Our society throws the word “hero” around so freely, but she truly was a hero to her children and other women, showing them (and us) through the example of her life what it means to persevere and be true to yourself despite life’s slings and arrows.

    FInally, the lesson of enjoying what we all have now and not living in the past or wishing for the future. If she could do it, we all can.

    Happy new year to all.

  7. Lydia on the 28. Dec, 2010 remarked #

    Thanks, Donna…I think I needed to read this today…Living and enjoying the moment is so important to feelings of contentment in our hearts.
    Elizabeth Edwards set a fine example for all of us to be true to ourselves, be courageous and to maintain our dignity.

  8. Georgia Witt on the 29. Dec, 2010 remarked #

    Thanks, Donna…I think I needed to read this today…Living and enjoying the moment is so important to feelings of contentment in our hearts. Elizabeth Edwards set a fine example for all of us to be true to ourselves, be courageous and to maintain our dignity.

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