National Press Club

Edwards Gets Strength from Friends, Strangers

May 26, 2009 | By Jan King

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Elizabeth Edwards gets her strength from other people, friends and strangers alike, who have been her "safety net,"she said at a discussion Thursday of her book, "Reslience."

However, she said, in the end people must "find the strength in yourself" to ovecome the obstacles that life throws in your path.

Edwards, the wife of former Democratic presidential contender John Edwards, writes about her husband's infidelity, her battle with cancer and the death of her son Wade. She discussed "Resilience" before a crowd of more than 300. The NPC event was held at the Willard Hotel.

She said in the face of those life-altering circumstances, her first reaction was she wanted to "go back to her life before the bad moment." However, she said, the reality is that's not possible. She advised that in the face of upheaval, "accept your life" for what it is now with the "new rules" and "make that adjustment."

Edwards read passages from "Resilience" about her beloved father and the stroke he suffered in 1990 in which the doctors were about to give him up as brain dead. She said she saw in her father's eyes his plea that he was still alive. Edwards said she refused to allow life support to be removed. Her father lived for 18 more years.

She answered questions from the audience and spoke about being a politician's wife, about motherhood, the death of her son and how the family keeps him alive in their minds and hearts, about how she always chose family first over her career as an attorney, about her breast cancer and how she is best using her time in the face of a terminal diagnosis.

She touched briefly on her husband's indiscretion by saying they "love each other," "no one is perfect," and how he is and has always been a "wonderful, caring husband." She remarked, "all of that doesn't change in light of one mistake."

President Donna Leinwand moderated the question session.