Elizabeth Edwards remembered for strength, grace

Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:11pm EST
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By Ned Barnett

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters Life!) - Elizabeth Edwards was eulogized on Saturday as a woman who lived her public life at the center of raw emotions but found strength in family, friends and the strangers who shared her struggles.

More than 1,000 mourners filled a Methodist church for the funeral of Edwards, 61, the estranged wife of 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards. She died on Tuesday six years after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Edwards and her husband announced in January they had separated after 32 years of marriage. The split followed a scandal in which the former U.S. senator and two-time presidential candidate had an affair and fathered a baby with a campaign aide.

Elizabeth Edwards wrote two best-selling books about coping with the death of her oldest son, Wade, in a 1996 traffic accident, her cancer and her husband's infidelity.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer and treated in 2004. The cancer returned in 2007 and spread to other parts of her body.

John Edwards, who was with her in her final days, did not speak at the funeral. He escorted Catherine and the Edwards' other surviving children, Jack, 10, and Emma Claire, 12.

Among the attendees were John Edwards' 2004 presidential running mate, Senator John Kerry, and Vicki Kennedy, widow of the late Senator Edward Kennedy.

The funeral on a cold, rainy afternoon was preceded by a demonstration a block away by picketers from the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas.   Continued...

<p>Pall-bearers wheel in the casket of Elizabeth Edwards for her funeral in Raleigh, North Carolina on December 11, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Willett/Pool</p>