Elizabeth Edwards halts cancer treatment

UPDATE. Since this posting, we have learned of the sad news of the death of Elizabeth Edwards.

The news started trickling through my Twitter time-line late last night – ( late in terms of Greenwich Meantime that is).  A feeling of solidarity rippling through the online cancer community as we read the latest news on Elizabeth Edwards, recently released from the hospital where she was admitted over Thanksgiving, and who has now stopped all cancer treatment.

This is how ABC reported the news yesterday.

“Elizabeth has been advised by her doctors that further treatment of her cancer would be unproductive,” said a statement released by Edwards’ family. “She is resting at home with family and friends.”

A close friend of the Edwards family told ABC News that John Edwards is among those who are at her side. The friend described the environment at the house as warm and peaceful. The mood was sad, but also full of warm feelings too.

The friend said Elizabeth is not in pain, and is at peace with what is happening. The children, the friend said, are doing “OK.”

In a message on her Facebook page, Edwards wrote a message that hinted at her pending death.

“You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope,” she wrote. “These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined.”

“The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human,” wrote Edwards.

“But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful.”

The family friend said that Elizabeth wanted to communicate via Facebook because she feels a connection with so many people who have read her book and heard her speak. She wants to “exit with hope,” the friend said, and in a way that she chooses.

It is impossible not to be moved by the grace and dignity with which Elizabeth Edwards has lived her life and is now facing her death. I think we all would hope to emulate her example in the face of loss and pain; in the way in which we live our lives, and face our death. Perhaps that is the reason why so many of us feel so deeply moved by her story. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Elizabeth and her family at this sad time.

See also: Elizabeth Edwards on Resilience