The last days of Elizabeth Edwards

The fact that John Edwards was there with his estranged wife in her home in North Carolina is a very good thing. Despite all the sordid stories we’ve read about him, these two people had a long life together, and many hardships. The death of their 16-year-old son Wade in a car accident is the kind of loss that can destroy a marriage. I was reminded of that over the weekend when I saw “Rabbit Hole,” a searing drama starring Nicole Kidman about a couple coping with the senseless death of their 4-year-old hit by a car while chasing the family dog.

Their time in hospice, brief as it was, allowed the Edwards family – Elizabeth and John, and their grown daughter Cate – to re-visit old wounds along with the new ones that ended their marriage. Seeing a loved one on his or her death bed tends to focus the mind, and for Elizabeth, who was courageous and clear-eyed all along about the progress of her disease, hospice gave her and her estranged husband a chance to heal those wounds, forgive each other, and sort out what they want for their children, Emma Claire and Jack, who are very young.

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