Elizabeth Edwards died today at the age of 61 after her long battle with breast cancer.
While I never met Elizabeth Edwards in person (the line was so long at BlogHer ’07, I never made it to the front), I did have a chance to interview her by telephone shortly after that. I’ve long been an admirer, even when those guys who claim to be journalists who wrote Game Change smeared her as a political she-devil and others mocked and criticized her for the life choices she made.
But I admired her for the choices — even the ones that I might not have made if I had been in her shoes — because she was honest about them. Plus she was one outspoken, warm, intelligent and politically savvy gal.
We all knew that she would not, in the end, be able to vanquish the breast cancer that had taken over her body, but I think we all hoped she would somehow pull it off, in the same way she pulled off her late in life second motherhood. Because she was an amazingly strong voice for the things she believed in. And when she believed in something, she didn’t back down — whether it was championing health care for everyone or, yes, standing by her man even if he didn’t deserve it.
And she was the kind of woman we all wanted to be gal pals with — you could talk with her about public policy, as well as hearing about her love of meatloaf and jammies she bought at Target.
Elizabeth was a great friend to the MOMocrats, a group to which I’ve belonged since it’s inception. She often told us via E-mails or notes that we needed to keep up the good fight to get more women involved in the political process. As we mourn the loss of such an amazing woman, I think the best tribute we could make to her is to keep the promise to have more women speak out, run for office and take charge of this crazy, messed up political world.
I have a feeling her daughter, Cate, might just step into those shoes.