Her life could have been a Southern morality play or book; written either by Tennessee Williams or William Faulkner. The type of morality play, where the long suffering wife lives her life with grace and dignity, whereas the husband is a cad and rake of the first order. Unfortunately this was not fiction, but a real life drama played out before the prying eyes of the American public.
John Edwards represents not only the worst but also the best in the American political tradition. He is a self made man in the image of Harry Truman, born to a blue collar working class family he excelled as an attorney representing the underdog against the vested interest of the establishment. Yet he is also the worst of the American political tradition, the venal, narcissistic politician and public figure who believe his own press releases, who believed he was not governed by the same rules as mere mortals, and who believed if he told the lie all would believe because his heart was pure.
On the other hand, his wife, the late Elizabeth, represented the best in American. She too had a passion, a passion for her family, for her children, for her husband when she believe he was an honorable man, and a passion for life. When diagnose with Brest Cancer she told the world only after she was certain that her husband had lost his bid for the office of Vice President of the United States. Her cancer in remission she resume her life as a wife and mother; having at an earlier age forsaken her career in the law for that of her family. When her husband ran for President, she was his principal advisor and confidant. When her cancer reappeared she stood by her husband and did let him end his futile campaign for President. What she did not know is that her husband of over thirty years not only had strayed but was also the father of a love child.
When the truth became known, Elizabeth Edwards handled it was grace and dignity as she had lived her life. She championed causes such as Universal Health Care based on her on experience with Brest Cancer. She lived her life with dignity, and she did not go gently into the night.
The real life story has a tragic ending–in the end the women of grace and dignity died. In fiction she would have lived.