How Will Elizabeth Edwards Death Affect Her Young Children?

Tue, December 7, 2010 6:35pm EST by 2 Comments
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Getty ImagesElizabeth Edwards passed away today after battling breast cancer. How will her three children cope with the loss?

This is tragic. Elizabeth Edwards has passed away today (December 7) after fighting a six-year-long battle with breast cancer. The 61-year-old wife of former Presidential candidate John Edwards died at her home in Chapel Hill, N.C., at 10:15 AM, surrounded by family and friends. Now her three children, Cate, 28, Emma Claire, 12, and son Jack, 10 — her eldest son Wade died in a 1996 car accident — have to face their mother’s passing and moving forward without her. We asked an expert how her death will affect her beloved kids.

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“When a parent dies, life as it had previously been known to the children is over. It is a time of pain, confusion and, often, fear,” Dr. Jenn Berman, marriage, family and child therapist and author of The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy Confident Kids, tells “Initially they have to face difficult events like funerals, wakes and other mourners. But the children are often surrounded with a lot of support.” Elizabeth’s children will most likely be confused for the upcoming weeks, struggling with the loss of their mother, but not truly understanding what is going on until the shock has passed. “Months later it can become even more difficult when the mourners go away and the support often dries up,” Dr. Berman continues. “Hopefully these children will get the support they need to cope with this terrible tragedy.”

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Elizabeth lived her life to the fullest until the end, even though she faced many personal struggles, including her husband’s publicized infidelity. In June, Elizabeth told doctors that she would love to live long enough to see her son Jack graduate high school and daughter Emma pick a major in college, as well as see older daughter Cate get married to the man she’s been dating for some time. We’re heartbroken that she never got the chance to make those wishes a reality. This is terribly sad. We hope that John will step in and be the rock his children need to get through the next few years. What do you think, HollyMoms?

–Leigh Blickley

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Posted at 11:39 AM on December 9, 2010  

It sounds like Elizabeth tried to prepare Jack and Emma Claire for the inevitable. I assume John will be given custody of his children and that Cate will step in and try to fill the void as much as she can. Had she died six years ago, the situation would be much different. They are now old enough to understand what’s going on, but losing a parent is not easy at any age…I was 22 when my father died while out of the country in 1991 and it was devastating. But, I also was not prepared to deal with the chance that he would die so young (age 49).

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