By: Tinsley Tullos
Elizabeth Edwards, ex-wife of two-time presidential-candidate John Edwards, died Tuesday at the age of 61 after stopping cancer treatments. Edwards’s funeral was held at Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday. The loving mother of four was remembered highly among friends and family.
Edwards announced in 2004 that she had breast cancer. The cancer had spread to her hip bones, ribs, lungs and liver in 2007. The day before her death, Edwards had decided to stop treatment because further treatment could have become deadly. Edwards had not only experienced heartache through cancer, but from the death of her 16-year-old son in 1994 and her husband’s recent infidelity. Edwards and her ex-husband separated just last year.
Edwards’ children and longtime friends spoke of her advisory nature. John Edwards did not speak and spent his time consoling their three children. Cate Edwards, Edwards’ 28-year-old daughter, shared from the letter her mother had left. “All I ever really needed was you, your love, your presence, to make my life complete,” the letter said. Glenn Bergenfield, Edwards’ close friend, reflected on the time she first met Edwards in law school. Bergenfield described Edwards as a strong, down-to-earth young woman who challenged her law professors.
The ceremony was held at the same church where Edwards’ son’s funeral was held. Edwards was buried beside her son who died in a car accident at the age of 16 in 1994. The ceremony was open to the public because Edwards believed in open campaign events. Edwards’ funeral brought hundreds together, including a number of political leaders.
Many found Edwards to be an inspiring woman who was always giving advice, even as she was dying. Edwards’ loved ones gathered around her as she lay dying and assured them that she was okay. Edwards did not believe in saying she had lost her battle with cancer. Instead she believed that the battle was about living, and she had won.