I just watched the entire four-and-a-half hours of the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics. Every moment of the pyrotechnical pageantry, the artistry, the staggering spectacle of it all. I watched every single country in the world marching into the stadium; the athletes of all colors, shapes and sizes wearing their proud smiles and their native costumes; the amazing array of humanity on display that makes you feel great about the world and how we can all come together once every four years just for the glory of sport. I listened to every word spoken by Bob Costas and Matt Lauer, the inspiring individual stories that have managed to bring these athletes to experience their own Olympic moments.
I watch all of it, every single minute. I am completely charmed, and captivated. And then when it's over, at midnight , I finally sit down at the computer to write my daily blog, "I Never Signed Up For This." And at this moment, there is only one thing I can write about tonight. Because it's all I can think about: Elizabeth Edwards.
It's not only that I feel a bond with her because we both had breast cancer. Yes, there is some sad sorority that none of us really wanted to join. But you don't need to have breast cancer tonight. Or to be a mother who lost a child. Or to be a mother. Or to be a public figure. Or to be a wife whose husband cheated on her. You don't even need to be a woman. All you need to understand the agony of Ellizabeth Edwards is to be a human being. We all feel her pain.
And whatever your political leanings, whatever part of the country you live in, whether you read her book or liked her husband, right now all you want to do is protect her. From everything.
It takes everything you've got to fight stage 4 cancer, the battle against your own body, not to mention the battle inside your own head. She needs every last drop of her physical and emotional energy right now to be focused on herself--not on this latest cruel twist in her life.
I am sure somehow Elizabeth will summon enough strength to face this latest crisis with the same class and courage with which she has faced the rest. Considering that today is the opening of the Olympics, I could say that Elizabeth Edwards deserves her own gold medal. But I could also say that after what she has endured, there is no one I can think of at this moment, who has more earned the right to say: "I never signed up for this."