In the summer of 2003 I fell hard for John Edwards. I was in North Carolina for the summer and was feeling N.C.'s surprising pull toward permanence, which I've found never quite releases you. A second-life parfaited with straightforward and nostalgia. Edwards was in the air there then, everyone seemed to be working for him or wanting to. I loved the two Americas speech the same way I loved the best of times worst of times symmetry of Dickens. I even went to a rally and stood in the rain holding signs and shouting high school football cheers modified only slightly to accommodate a candidacy. I defended him sheepishly as long as I could.
So it is with a pretty big amount of sympathy that I think of Elizabeth Edwards. Toddlers, dying, and married to a douche-bag. When is it enough? The affair? The affair when he knew you were sick? The alleged promise to have The Dave Matthews Band play at their wedding after your demise? The child? Denying the child? Undenying the child? Dealbreakers often pass you by, paralyzing in their magnitude. There seems to be some other, internal source that controls when we can begin dissolution. An independent strength that will only move in its own time. Perhaps for Elizabeth it was the realization that "terminal" still holds many, many days, but they don't have room for extra indignities.