How did you tell your young children, Emma Claire, 8, and Jack, 6?
Elizabeth: We all sat at the table in the family room. We called them in and said we had something important to say and they were just giggling and laughing. Jack had had a field trip to Whole Foods that day. So it was all of those kinds of regular family things. We had to wait for a calm moment, and John said, ‘I need to tell y’all something. I need to tell you that Mommy’s cancer is back.’ They seemed interested but not depressed by the information. They asked was I going to lose my hair, which delighted them the first time. No, I probably wouldn’t but John explained to them I probably would be getting medicine again.
We also explained that it wasn’t going to go away this time – and that prompted questions about whether I would die from it. John was honest and said that this cancer can kill. Then he said, ‘Everybody at the table who’s not going to die, raise their hands.’ They understood – or I hope they understood – that we’re all going to die and nobody has any guarantee of how much time they have. The only thing we have control of is how you spend the time, that precious time.
John Edwards: The kids actually responded well. It’s encouraging. It’s hard to know how much they actually grasped, but they seemed to understand.
In 10 to 15 years you could have a grandchild. (The couple have a 25-year-old daughter, Cate)
Elizabeth: I could. If I think about how long it’s been since I’ve seen my son Wade – April 4th it will be 11 years – it seems like forever. Because I have smaller children, I’d like to see them into adulthood. I’d like to see the person they marry, all those things, and maybe I will. But 11 years or 10 years – it doesn’t seem so short to me. Particularly because I really believe we’re going to have a Democratic president next time, so I believe we’re going to have money in our cancer research and we’re going to start making strides that have been building up in un-government-subsidized research.
The whole article can be found here.
Best wishes to Elizabeth and her family. She is being so courageous.