I SWORE I was not going to turn this blog into any sort of political forum ..... BUT..... Sorry, I MUST rant. It's going to be a short rant...... because there are only a few points I think I have to get off my now surgically altered chest. I think it will be short. Generally, when I say I'm going to be brief, I scroll up and the post is about 25,000 words or more.
I have a daughter. I have breast cancer. I am presently NED. I do NOT have metastatic disease so I can not, WILL NOT presume to understand what it feels like to have that sword of Damocles hanging over one’s head. I will just say that I have, in my innermost circle, friends who are living with mets. Therefore, I speak as a woman in general, as a woman with (NED) breast cancer, as the former wife of my children’s father, as the wife still trying to define the word wife in my present “situation,” as a daughter of a mom with two breast cancer diagnoses, as a mom of a daughter whose future I hope to help by my efforts to End Breast Cancer. Mainly, I speak as a Bitch Blogger. But most of all, I speak as a very proud and VERY #FearlessFriend.
I am troubled.
I will state my case with one caveat. I have only read the sound bites and the headlines. The reason? The truth speaks for itself. Cloaked in bullshit about what monies were used, whether the dead woman was a raging lunatic bitch (always a great tool, by the way, let's attack the dead person), how much he "loved" her, I am prepared to stick my nose in someone else's business. On behalf of the dead woman. Because it's public information. I hope my twitter buddy @SusanKomenGhost will have PLENTY to tweet about.
John Edwards is pond scum. I want to smack that smirk right off of his perfectly crafted face. I may even want to smash his perfectly coiffed head off of his mightier than thou shoulders. I don’t care if he hated Elizabeth. That’s his right as a human being. I don’t care if he never wanted to see her again. Again that is HIS right. All I’m saying and this is the ONLY thing I am saying, there are ways…. And then, there are the.other.ways. You chose the latter, dearest John and quite frankly, That Sucks.
This need, as I originally heard from a friend’s husband (although now I’d venture to say the “playing field” is level so I’m NOT man bashing… I LOVE men…. I’m bashing A man, One man, For not BEING A MAN)…. This need to Deny.Deny.Deny. has simply got to stop. How’s about this for a novel approach? Truth. Honesty. Integrity. And mostly, Don’t make your wife who is in the throes of a TERMINAL illness look like a fool. Just Don’t Do It.
Here are my suggestions. I’m prepared for someone to anonymously tell me I’m a moron because, as I’ve made clear, I will accept anonymous comments. I will not delete them unless they are over the top egregious. I WILL delete them if they are political or religious. That’s not what this blog is all about. I don’t want to muddy the waters with political debate or religious views. I just want to stay on point. The point, of course, being breast cancer and how to fix a big giant pink overfunded, progression-less disease. Yes, simplistic. And yes, for me, for this blog space, it is that simple. I am, despite my ADD, OCD and every other alphabetical disorder in my chemobrain, staying on point. Except if I’m not. My blog, my sandbox, my rules.
Commentary is directed at the offending party. If anyone has a compelling argument to enlighten me so I might even consider why I should feel differently, DO share. I will listen to any and all points of view. I get it. Shit happens. You find yourself in a situation and you mess up. You are in a marriage or a committed relationship. Those are supposed to be built upon a foundation of honesty and trust. But, something happened. A random act of something. We can debate the pros and cons of the need to share those assignations with our partners but that is not what happened with Mr. Edwards. (Do I even afford someone with a yuk factor of a gazillion the respect of referring to him as Mister anything?)
It wasn’t random. It wasn’t one time. It wasn’t ongoing randomness with many random partners. It wasn’t ongoing randomness with the same someone whereby they were just having fun for fun’s sake. I am NOT endorsing any of this behavior. I’m merely pointing out that like most things in life, there are things that are horrible and in some cases there are levels of their horrible-ness.
What was done in this case is as close to the top as I can imagine. Maybe I’m just hypersensitive. Maybe it’s because I watched Elizabeth Edwards announce her cancer had metastasized while John looked on lovingly and adoringly as he pledged his (politically necessary) unwavering support for his wife as she set foot in the land of mets. I’m betting that is driving my outrage. I subscribe to a way of being when it comes to wo(men) with breast cancer: What happens to one of us, happens to each of us on one level or another. That’s my way of being an effective #FearlessFriend. Empathizing. In every situation.
And so let me say this.
Did you REALLY think you would be able to hide this? I mean Come ON. The only secret is a secret where only ONE person knows the secret. The minute the other woman was in that bed, it wasn’t a secret. Ask Monica. Or Bill. Or Elliot. Better yet. Yank out a copy of City Slickers and heed the advice of Billy Crystal. The shit literally falls out of the sky. Into the laps of unsuspecting wives. Usually in the beauty parlor. And usually, we already have a hunch. We are pretty good like that. And we just keep going to the beauty parlor (or in 2012, perhaps the nail salon) and one day, our hunch is confirmed.
No matter how sure we may be of our "hunch," that moment of absolute confirmation is sheer and utter devastation. That’s not me being empathetic. That’s sympathetic and let’s just leave it at that, shall we? Now let’s add to the pile. Elizabeth Edwards buried a child. That’s a place my mind can’t even go. Not even in my darkest moments. Elizabeth Edwards had “two families” in the sense that there were older kids and then, there are two younger children. A bit out of the ordinary but now, faced with a distant recurrence, not only is she reeling for herself, she surely is distraught over the fact there are little ones in the equation. Degrees of awfulness. Again, I won’t ever presume to understand what those who have young children feel like when diagnosed or going through treatment. I can only hand hold. I do NOT understand. I’ve not walked that path.
He’s a public figure. He’s in a presidential race. It doesn’t get more public than that. Fast forward. The campaign is over (for him, at least). The buzz is in the air. News of an affair begins to surface. And then, a love child? She’s being treated for TERMINAL breast cancer. How much more shit shall we pile upon this woman? Her son’s death, her breast cancer, the fact that it spread. All well beyond her control. Her husband’s actions? Also well beyond her control. But, NOT BEYOND HIS. And this is where John Edwards should have manned up.
Dude. Tell the woman there is someone else. Tell the woman you no longer want to be married. Tell the woman you want to be with said other woman. Tell her there is a child. Don’t DON’T DO NOT sit in front of a news camera doing the DENY DENY DENY thing. You disgraced your wife who really had an overflowing plate of shit being crammed down her throat. You couldn’t make the plate smaller but for the love of everything, you most assuredly did NOT have to heap on another helping of shit atop this massive pile.
As for his daughter who is scheduled to testify on her father’s behalf which is what brought me to this place, this rant, this day? If the pundits are right, the expectation is that she will be sharing her knowledge of her father’s love for her mother. I have a son. And a daughter. They are both adults with the free will to speak their minds. (I hope I have your attention for these next sentences or the end of this will make absolutely no sense.....) My kids have carte blanche in the “take it out on mom” column for pretty much anything. They also have, for the most part, a blank check pre-signed by me to forgive whatever they decided to use from that other column.
This young woman’s terminally ill mom was disrespected (I’m inclined to use the word degraded but I might be accused of melodrama) in THE most public fashion. For me, those actions resulted in what I’d call the absolute epitome of humiliation. Kicked when she was down? That doesn’t really scratch the surface when you break this mess down, line item by line item.
The daughter of Elizabeth Edwards is obviously a wonderful young woman. She is caring for her two younger siblings. She watched her mom die what was surely an unpleasant death. Her dad is now facing some rather serious charges for which he might be imprisoned for a long time. Say he is a great dad. Say he is wonderful in the community. Tell the world how much YOU love him. Share your stories of your relationship with him. Humanize him for us because most of US have fairly strong feelings and I’m going out on a limb here. Most of us do not feel anything in the warm and fuzzy category when it comes to JE and his escapades.
But, JE is her dad. She is doing what families do. We stand up for each other in our time of need. We have one another’s back.
I have no doubt she loves her father deeply. And I have no doubt she loves her mother, still. I just hope she is not asked to discuss the love between her parents. It would be awful to be placed in such a lousy situation. Plus, isn’t that heresay, anyway??
I would just hope that if the word love gets bantered about, if "love" and this need to "protect" EE from the truth at all costs gets tossed all over the place, we are all able to pause and refocus on the issue. He got caught and was doing everything and anything to save his ass. His paramour was the recipient of funds. It was covered up by many according to the reports I have read. What that means within the context of the law and this criminal case is of no concern to me. I just hope we can stay on point and remember some of the basics of human decency.
Those who love do not act in ways that are so deliberately hurtful. People who love deeply and purely and with honesty want to protect those they love from as much harm as humanly possible. Having an affair, having many people working to cover up the affair and having a child with a woman other than one’s wife? Definitely NOT love. The fact that the wife in this scenario was dying makes it worse. And yes, I acknowledge that is my opinion and solely my opinion, and YES, I AM stating it as a fact. JEEZ, ya coulda just got a divorce. Did you need to do THIS to the dying mother of your children, one of whom you buried years earlier. I don't get it. And I never will.
IF that shoe were crammed on my foot……. If my kids chose to do anything other than stick to their own feelings and leave me out of it….. well… I know I’ll be dancing in the flames on the Edge, the Edge… and I can pretty much guarantee this much. That aforementioned pre-signed check? It would bounce back faster than a tightly wound spring, boldly rubber stamped: