I feel as though I have a fairly good ability to view things from another person's perspective. I can't, however, for the life of me figure out what Elizabeth Edwards is trying to accomplish with her current media blitz to peddle her latest book.
Everyone on this earth has a finite number of days to live. Sadly, Elizabeth's stage IV cancer lets us presume that the time she has left is going to be more limited than anyone would wish. Given that cruel fact, I am puzzled at how Elizabeth is choosing to use her limited time and energy. I am further perplexed that she is leaving a trail of recorded interviews that will become part of the catalog of memories with which her two younger children will be left.
They will see a woman who coyly refuses that the other woman's name not be mentioned in her presence. Her explanation of why she insists on this boils down to Elizabeth's strong feeling that the woman her husband slept with is too far down the socio-economic scale to deserve a name. (The other woman's name is, ironic as it may seem, is Ms. Hunter). Elizabeth's manner indicated that she feels Ms. Hunter should shoulder most of the blame for her husband's dalliance.
The part of the interview that made me suspect that Elizabeth has a cruel streak in her was when Oprah inquired whether or not Ms. Hunter's baby daughter might be the child of John Edwards. Elizabeth referred to the infant, whose name is Frances, as "it", as in "it has nothing to do with my life whether or not it is John's biological child". Hmmm... seems to me that although the child was born out of wedlock, she would still be the half-sibling of the legally recognized Edwards children. If the anticipated paternity tests reveal what we all suspect is the truth anyway, Baby Frances will be entitled to her fair portion of the Edwards' substantial fortune.
John Edwards, the man of the hour, was skulking around the monstrously huge home in which he continues to reside in his wife. He gave the camera a martyred look as Oprah threw marshmallow-covered questions his way. The modern equivalent, I suppose, to being pilloried in the public square of old. Again, I think having an unfading video record of this chapter in the Edwards family history is an odd legacy for Elizabeth to leave her children.
Not satisfied with airing only the dirty laundry of the current generation, Elizabeth made sure the world will be left an account of the infidelities she suspects her father perpetrated decades ago. I am at a loss to even guess what she feels is to be gained by that revelation.
I truly don't know how I would carry myself if I had been dealt the cards Elizabeth Edwards has received in her life. Losing her teenage son undoubtedly played a great part in forming the woman we see today. Having an unfaithful spouse had to be beyond devastating. Fighting so hard to recover from cancer only to be given the bitter news that it has returned with no hope for a cure must have caused her to do some deep soul searching. I believe that Elizabeth stated something about realigning her priorities in light of this prognosis.
So... I just can't figure it out. Why is this the choice she is making at this point in her life? She is certainly entitled to scream and rant and make a few fist-shaped holes in the wall, but these acts should take place privately. One of the statements Elizabeth has made indicated that she does not want to define herself as a wronged wife. Why, oh, why is she setting up an irreversible situation in which her two youngest children, 11 and 8 years old, will have to define themselves as the offspring of a cheating father and a wounded, cuckolded mother? I hope after her book tour she returns home and spends her time holding tight to her children who need her presence and that she finds some solace in them.