Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Saving Graces: In Memory of Elizabeth Edwards

Several years ago, I was asked to write a review of Elizabeth Edwards' poignant memoir, Saving Graces.

In it, she details how she survived the loss of her son, Wade, managing to turn the terrible loss into a catalyst for changing lives for the better in her own community.  With her breast cancer diagnosis, she again faced further adversity with courage and amazing strength.

The book is not an easy read, especially for the parents among us -- Elizabeth talks with raw emotion about losing Wade, and I wept openly in the reading of it.  But by writing in such frank and honest terms, she made healing from any loss seem possible, no matter how impossible and unfathomable such healing may appear at the start. 

It was an amazing gift of grace from someone who had faced so much already in her life.   She could not have known then what was to come, but that core of strength forged in so much sorrow would carry her through.

In my review, I wrote:
In Saving Graces, Edwards shares a letter she received from "Steve C."—one of the many who wrote her in support after her breast cancer diagnosis became public—quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson: "You can never do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."

Edwards must have taken it to heart, because Saving Graces is such a kindness to anyone who has hit a rough patch in the road and had trouble dusting himself off and starting again.
Elizabeth's loss is most certainly a profound one for those who loved her.

But also?  Her compassionate, eloquent and passionate voice for those less fortunate, for those left behind, and those in need of a hand upward -- through poverty initiatives, educational advances or better health care -- will be sorely missed on a national stage which far too often forgets those without the deep pockets to buy a PR voice.

Do a kindness for someone today, especially if they aren't expecting it.  In doing so, you'll be doing a kindness for yourself as well as honoring Elizabeth's memory -- and I think she'd like that a lot.

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