Woman Up Editor
Elizabeth Edwards, the separated
wife of former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, is reported to be losing her battle with breast cancer
, which was diagnosed during the 2004 presidential election campaign, in which her husband was the Democratic candidate for vice president. Mrs. Edwards' personal strength and tenacity were repeatedly tested by crushing disappointments and unmet expectations
After coping with the death of her teenage son Wade, Mrs. Edwards sought fertility assistance in her 40s and had two more children. Many saw
her miscast but driven support of her husband's political career as his greatest asset in his Senate and presidential campaigns that followed. Despite her loyal backing, she was the victim of humiliating public unfaithfulness
while she was also experiencing prolonged cancer treatment.
Her demonstrations of strength and will, though a model for tolerance and a resilient spirit, were also a study in questionable choices. At a time when she might have been restoring her strength to fight the deadly disease, Elizabeth instead wrote a detailed memoir that doubled as a platform to excoriate her husband's mistress
Nonetheless, now that Elizabeth may be near death -- "The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered," she wrote on Facebook. "We know that." -- the 61-year-old mother of three living children credits family, friends and "faith in the power of resilience and hope," for sustaining her through her storied life. If these are indeed her last days, then Elizabeth Edwards can pass on to a peaceful end knowing for her children and friends she has been a pillar of forbearance nearly mythological in scope.