Elizabeth Edwards: Living and Dying in the Public Eye

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

We’re considering the life and death of Elizabeth Edwards, today. She was the author of two books, “Resilience” and “Saving Graces.”  She was also a student of literature and politics, a fierce advocate for health care reform, and the former wife of former Senator John Edwards. Over the course of her life she became an increasingly public figure, who surrounded herself with family and friends in the last weeks of her life.

Andrea Purse was one of those friends. She is a former campaign aide and was with Edwards and her family during the last days.

Gail Sheehy, contributing editor to Vanity Fair and author of "Passages in Care Giving: Turning Chaos into Confidence," did not know Edwards personally, but says she can't help but think of the many "what if" scenarious that could have been at the end of Elizabeth Edwards' life.

Guests:

Andrea Purse

Comments [2]

Renata from New Jersey

Gail Sheehy's comments about Elizabeth Edwards were appalling. She implied that Edwards was somehow responsible for her own recurrence and death because she didn't leave her husband, the theory being that her emotional pain caused her to get sick again. Not content to blame the victim, she then goes on to question her parenting, saying she caused her children pain and suffering with this decision. Wow. What a mean-spirited and ignorant thing to say. Mrs. Edwards was barely dead and Ms. Sheehy was already p*ssing on her grave. Lovely. Why didn't Hockenberry at least note that there's no evidence (yet) that leaving your husband prevents cancer?

Dec. 09 2010 10:48 PM
Nance Cunningham, PhD from Oklahoma City

Elizabeth's apparent decision to continue curative care until the day before her death is an example of great frustration to the hospice and palliative care community. Most parents would be much better off using hospice earlier. In addition, her family's decision to send her children off to school, and then to wait until they came home to tell them of her death is baffling. Were Mrs. Edwards and the other adults in her family really truthful to the children all along or not? It seems that they were not at the end.

Dec. 08 2010 11:19 AM

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