Elizabeth Edwards & the Person in the Casket

Much has been said about how Elizabeth Edwards advanced the cause for health care for every American — how she met adversity with matchless grace and dignity.

But family members do not mourn through the lens of politics.

Seven years ago, President Bill Clinton stood over the casket of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson inside the Atlanta Civic Center. Politicians preached to the choir of Atlantans that the only way to honor the lion of the new south was to attach Jackson’s name to the airport he made a global success. With Mayor Jackson’s grieving family members behind him, President Clinton reminded mourners why they were present.

A man was in the casket. Atlantans were mourning someone’s husband, someone’s father, someone’s friend.

When a light such as Elizabeth Edwards dims (only to shine in the next world), family members feel the loss more. The person in the casket is not a health care advocate, creature of politics or an embattled wife. She is a mother and, yes, still someone’s wife and a friend.