Elizabeth Edwards, who died Tuesday, faced a number of difficult trials in her 61 years: The death of a child whose future once seemed bright and boundless; the grueling struggles of the unsuccessful vice presidential and presidential campaigns of her husband, former Sen. John Edwards; the discovery and treatment of breast cancer and its return in the form of an incurable malady; and the public humiliation of her husband's affair and paternity of a child with a younger woman.
Through it all Elizabeth Edwards faced these misfortunes with the full range of human emotion: anger, disappointment and despair, to be sure, but also an admirable resolve, grit, self-reliance and a measure of grace that stands as an example for friends, admirers and millions who never met her.
Her doctors had advised her recently that further treatment of her cancer would be futile, and treatment was halted. She and John Edwards had separated earlier this year, but he returned to their home to join the family and close friends at her side in her last days.
On her Facebook page she had written, "The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human.
"I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful."
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