Spreading Good Will This Holiday Season
Wednesday - December 22, 2010
An old friend and former colleague sent me a Christmas card. There he was, hugging an adorable baby girl and leaning into a gorgeous woman. They were all smiling like someone had just given them a million-dollar prize. I think my friend hit the jackpot.
You have to understand, this guy was such a bachelor. I mean, he was legendary. I thought he’d never settle down with one woman, much less become a dad. But there he was, wide grin on his face, looking content and domestic and, yes, utterly happy.
My friend looked so joyful he lifted me out of the funk I’d been in since hearing about the death of Elizabeth Edwards. She, the wife of a man who did not deserve her, died of the cancer that she had battled so courageously.
Edwards was someone I admired, not only for her intellect and her obvious political and career skills, but also because of her warmth, her heart and her bravery. Edwards was first and foremost a loyal and astute partner and a nurturing, loving mother. When her husband, former presidential candidate John Edwards, cheated on her when she needed him most, she was gravely wounded but not broken. (What kind of man lies and cheats after his wife has been diagnosed with cancer? Look up scumbag in the dictionary, his picture is there.) It hurts me to think about what she went through, but the example she set makes me want to emulate her.
In the final hours of her life, she was surrounded by people she loved: her son, Jack, 10, and daughters Emma Claire, 12, and Cate, 28. John Edwards was there, too, and who knows what words were spoken between them - they had a shared history and had loved each other. Perhaps there was enough love left to forgive. Elizabeth Edwards, according to her friend Jennifer Palmieri, tried her best to prepare her children: “To say that she prepared them for her death, I don’t think that is correct,” Palmieri said. “What she wanted to do was prepare them to live a good life.”
And that meant accepting, forgiving and helping her children move on. They need their father more than ever now.
Every year we put our holiday cards on display and this year is no different. I love the family pictures and I am so, so glad people take the time to create these little gems and send them. My husband and I were talking about it -it’s often the only time we see some of these people. We get to see how the kids are growing and how our friends are changing through the years. I have albums filled with picture cards. I keep every one. Looking at them now makes me keenly aware of the passage of time. We are evolving, we are maturing and yes, we are aging. Gracefully, I hope.
This holiday season, I hope you reach out to people who are important to you and forgive those who have hurt you.
People are all we’ve got. My friend, the former bachelor, has finally found his treasure in the loving circle of his new family. I hope the Edwards family rediscovers theirs, to honor the remarkable woman who was their rock and their soul. And may you all find the love and peace you deserve.
Gather your family and your friends. Keep them close.
Merry Christmas, if you believe in Christmas. Happy holidays if you don’t. There is plenty of good will for us all.
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