Vail Daily Editor Don Rogers: Elizabeth Edwards ‘just’ a person |

Vail Daily Editor Don Rogers: Elizabeth Edwards ‘just’ a person

Don Rogers
Vail, CO, Colorado

Think you have problems?

Try learning that the cancer you thought you had beaten has settled into your bones, terminally now.

Your spouse’s cheating became the fodder of the National Enquirer.

You will always live with the deep ache of your son killed at age 16 in a car crash.

And everyone — everyone — knows.

Or thinks they know.

Kind of puts the recession into perspective, don’t you think?

Elizabeth Edwards struck me as perhaps the most vulnerable person I had seen in person. And the strongest.

She spoke Tuesday to 480 women and I don’t know, maybe eight guys at the annual Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group Luncheon at the Gerald Ford Hall in Beaver Creek.

I have to say I didn’t pick up any airs of highfalutin’ senator’s wife from this woman. Not sure why I thought I might.

Maybe that was my own politics, or smelling a rat in her too-glib husband and making a connection to her that didn’t really exist, that I invented from watching television and reading press accounts. Funny how we do that sometimes.

The woman in the flesh was “just” a person.

Just a person. Listen to me. I’m impressed with a media personality I had no real warm thought about, tossed off as another of those D.C. dramas about as real as Hollywood. I only went because I was asked.

And she blew me away not by any particular magnetism, impressive speaking skills, or overt intellectual power.

She recognizes she has some fame due to circumstances. Along with pain, certainly, the stage has provided an opportunity to reach out to other people fighting cancer and to speak as a representative for them, too.

The reviews of her latest book, “Resilience,” at least the ones I’ve read, talk about how her pain shows itself throughout the book. And yet she writes, and speaks, almost matter of factly of it and presses on.

I could tell she’d prefer not to be giving speeches, or telling this story as hers. Well, “prefer” is too easy, too matter of fact. I think she’d give anything not to have this story to live, this path that surely will end too soon.

Still, she holds to it, shows us we can press on through far more minor cuts and bruises along our own paths. And be true,” just” as people, with all our flaws and frailties. And power.

Editor and Publisher Don Rogers welcomes your comments at or 970-748-2920.

Support Local Journalism