Rest in peace, Elizabeth Edwards…if anyone earned eternal peace from the pain of  runaway cancer or worse, torn-apart relationships whether from death or human screw-ups, you did.  I write this post because of you, the woman….not the attorney or former wife of  …..

Elizabeth, your first book, Saving Grace, resonated to my soul.  Thank you.  Thank you for reminding all of us to hang on to hope and grace…to stand strong in the storms of our lives…to take what time and “tools” we need to regroup and reset our sails to survive life’s adverse winds, sudden painful twists and so many other losses.

Tears still drench my eyes when I am reminded of the sudden loss of your son at such a young age and for all parents who’ve had to endure such horrendous losses.

On the other hand, death does give the comfort of knowing it was not by the departed one’s choosing to leave their loved ones.

So many of us are hurt by the “other” kind of losses that Norman Cousins’ wrote about so succinctly and profoundly:

Death is not the greatest loss in life.
The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.

Sadly, we often lose special people in our lives, but not from death but from distance – geographic or self-created – bonds that we treasured, loved dearly and counted among our richest of blessings.    Then there are those relationships that society has taught us to expect, but for whatever assortment of circumstances, they just never happened for us…be that a father/daughter bond, brothers, sisters, mom/son, etc.

Many things cause such relationships to rip apart.  It’s sad, but once you know you’ve done all you can to try to build or rebuild a relationship, you must let go of it and allow the healing process to begin. That doesn’t mean some of us may be mindful of and mourn these losses until the day we die.  It means we move forward in a healthy and productive matter.  That we don’t allow ourselves to get stuck in a past that others won’t allow us to get beyond in spite of our heartfelt and genuine efforts to do so.

So Elizabeth, I digress but as mortality reminders often do, your death caused me to stop, reflect on my own life, my own successes and failures, my strengths, need-to-improve “parts” and so much more…I again thank you for reminding me with your written and spoken words of how to stand strong to the end.  No, you weren’t perfect or without self-inflicted “wounds” of being human, but your grace, survival skills and resilience trumped any and all of that.  Thank you for the non-political aspects and teachings of your life that mattered to so many.

About the author 

Nancy Byerly Jones

Nancy Byerly Jones and her husband reside on their mountainside ranch (“Little Hee Haw Farm”) with an energetic “family” of horses, donkeys (large and miniature), dogs and cats. Their favorite pastime is sharing the joy and fun of their animals and ranch life with their family, friends and clients.

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