Dec 15, 2010

Now I'm paying attention

I doubt myself a lot. I doubt my effectiveness in my eight-to-five job, I doubt my success as a mom, I doubt that I'm an adequate and equal partner in our marriage.

That's not to say that I don't think I have good days, or even that I don't feel like I do pretty well on the majority of days. It's just that when you have a small failure, depending on your mood or how you think other people are perceiving the level of your failure, it can feel much larger than it really is and can have a much bigger emotional impact than it really should.

That said, I only knew about Elizabeth Edwards what I saw in the media. More than anything, I was aware of the trials she went through in her marriage, the profound loss she experienced when her eldest son died in a car accident, and her fight against breast cancer. Until she died and I saw more extensive profiles on her, I wasn't as aware of her personal triumphs or her philosophy on life.

More than once since she died, I've seen her quoted. Most recently, two quotes spoke to me about what a wise woman she must have been.

Julia at Hooked on Houses mentioned a quotation that Elizabeth had painted in her kitchen:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Elizabeth said that it was to remind her that nobody has perfect lives and that we have a choice about how we integrate the imperfect parts into our lives.

A-MEN. I couldn't agree more, and it really helped me put some of my feelings of inadequacy to rest.

Next, Patrice posted this quote of Elizabeth's on Facebook:
If you know someone who has lost a child, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died -- you're not reminding them. They didn't forget they died. What you're reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and that is a great gift.
I've been fortunate and so blessed with three pregnancies that resulted in healthy children. But I have several close friends and family members who have lost children, and I can tell you that Elizabeth said so eloquently what every single one of my friends in her position would like to say. I try so hard to honor the memory of the children who are no longer with us with mentions of them to their parents, and I know I would want people to do the same for me.

I didn't make an effort to know much about Elizabeth Edwards when she was living, but I hope that I have learned something from the legacy she left behind.


brightleigh said...

Great post, Katherine! I want to read her book(s) soon! I think that she can teach me a lot as a mother. No doubt she will leave a legacy.

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

Thanks, Leigh! A friend at work came by today to tell me how much this encouraged her today, too. Appreciate your comment!

Unknown said...

Hi Kat! The quote from Elizabeth's kitchen is from a Leonard Cohen song/poem called "Anthem." The whole song is incredible -- and I've fallen in love with most of his work. There's a lot of meaning in most everything he writes -- just wanted to share. :-)

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

Leigh, let me know if you read her books and if you recommend them. Thanks!

Leslie, I'm so glad to know that! I'll look it up.

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