Saturday, Mar. 24, 2007
Dear Diary:

Tiger, tiger burning bright ...

CNN was on the treadmill tee vee yesterday while I was wrapping up my cardio. There were some young twenty somethings beside me. The story about Elizabeth Edwards (wife of U.S. presidential candidate John Edwards) being diagnosed with incurable cancer came up.

One of the young girls said she thought John Edwards' decision not to drop out of the presidential race showed he didn't love his wife.

I started to laugh. I had to.

I told the girl closest to me that as far as I'm concerned when someone tells you that you have an incurable illness, you have two basic choices. You can live with your illness, pack as much life into your days as possible, or you can wait to die.

Elizabeth Edwards has chosen to live. With cancer. As long and as fully as she can, doing what she enjoys. If her husband didn't love her, he would have asked her to leave the campaign trail, go home, and prepare to meet her maker as quickly as possible so that she would inconvenience his run for office as little as possible.

Her decision, of course, makes things a tad awkward for many folks.

Why? Well, we like to laugh at the Victorians and their prudery about sex, but even you know what? Our society is as freaked out by death and dying as the Victorians ever were about sex and sexuality.

When people say her husband should quit the race and go home and spend all his time with her, they're just echoing what we as a society have decided: let's just tuck this death and dying business off in a discrete corner. Don't make us look at it. Don't make us think about it. It really has no place in polite company.

Elizabeth Edwards has in essence said, "Oops, sorry, no can do. Not crawling off to quietly die."

Political campaigns are all about people feeling comfortable with the candidate. Well, in a society that denies death, in a society that likes to see Dr. House pull a rabbit out of the hat at the end of every episode, Elizabeth Edwards reminds people that sometimes medicine can't make you all better. In that sense, she could well be a liability to her husband, and I'll bet his handlers have told him this.

He's seen her through one bout with cancer, though, and clearly he's decided that he'll see her through whatever is to come. She is his life partner, through sickness and in health, for better and for worse, until death do them part. An extraordinary promise. In my eyes, he is committed to helping his wife live with cancer.

And as I said to that girl, if that isn't love, I don't know what is.


Mileage on the Marnometer: 40.18 miles

Going Nowhere Collaboration

Goal for 2007: 500 miles

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