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When Elizabeth Edwards took off her ring

With the Washington rumour machine in pre-election overdrive, we’re not hearing much about the sad, sordid tale of John and Elizabeth Edwards: he the philandering senator and former presidential hopeful, she the wronged wife dying of cancer. A scant two months ago, the press was busy raking muck and hinting of explosive revelations to come. But that was before Joe the PlumberBill Ayers and the Palin family’s $150,000 campaign wardrobe, among other noisy preoccupations.

I never forgot about the Edwardses, though. Sometimes I’d wish them well in an abstract yet fervent sort of way. I didn’t think I had any right to know how they were coping. I simply wanted them to have what was still possible in the wake of betrayal. For the family, some peace in which to grope their way toward perspective. For Elizabeth Edwards, a gracious and accomplished woman, the dignity she deserved at the end of her life.

I was not one of those who rushed to judgment in the Edwards debacle. As some of you may recall from a previous post, I thought Edwards sounded genuinely contrite when he finally admitted to cheating and lying. One visitor took me to task (albeit in the nicest way), and something tells me hers is the majority view. But it’s not for us to decide whether John Edwards has a rightful place in his home and his marriage bed. Only Elizabeth can make that decision. And now it seems that she has done so.

Elizabeth Edwards wore no wedding ring when she delivered a speech on health care earlier this week. According to a story in the Washington Post, she looked frail and needed help taking her place before the audience. But she had fire, conviction and a formidable knowledge of her subject.

If it’s true, as unnamed chatterboxes say, that the Edwardses are living apart, then John has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Elizabeth is facing her cancer without a partner at her side. She does have a mission—and her dignity. She knows who she is and where she stands. It’s a lonely place, by the looks of things. So I’ll be thinking of her, wishing her well.

Posted by Rona

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