Jonathan Alter: You've kept God out of the public discussion of your situation. Why?Ms. Edwards' view of God is compelling, but I think I will continue to worship an invisible Santa Claus who lives in the sky.
Elizabeth Edwards: I had to think about a God who would not save my son.
Wade was—and I have lots of evidence; it's not just his mother saying it—a gentle and good boy. He reached out to people who were misfits and outcasts all the time. He could not stand for people to say nasty things about other people; he just didn't want it. For a 16-year-old boy, he was really extraordinary in this regard. I wish I could take credit for it, but I can't.
You'd think that if God was going to protect somebody, he'd protect that boy. But not only did he not protect him, the wind blew him from the road. The hand of God blew him from the road. So I had to think, "What kind of God do I have that doesn't intervene—in fact, may even participate—in the death of this good boy?"
I talk about it in the book, that I had to accept that my God was a God who promised enlightenment and salvation. And that's all. Didn't promise us protection.
I've had to come to grips with a God that fits my own experience, which is, my God could not be offering protection and not have protected my boy.
Jonathan Alter: You didn't lose your faith, you changed your faith? Or did you lose it for a time?
Elizabeth Edwards: I'm not praying for God to save me from cancer. I'm not.
God will enlighten me when the time comes. And if I've done the right thing, I will be enlightened. And if I believe, I'll be saved.
And that's all he promises me.
Update - From the Guardian:
Elizabeth Edwards said Tuesday that she got some good news: She has a type of cancer that is more likely to be controlled by anti-estrogen drugs. ***Three cheers for modern medicine and Invisible Santa!
Mrs. Edwards had her first post-diagnosis doctor's visit Friday and emerged encouraged. She said her doctor expected she had the most aggressive "triple-negative'' cancer, but testing found that she had two of the three key hormonal receptors - estrogen and progesterone. She said her the original diagnosis was "slightly estrogen heavy,'' but this time it's a strong marker and she also has the second marker.
"I consider that a good sign,'' Mrs. Edwards said in an interview in an art classroom before appearing with her husband at the Prairie High School gymnasium. "It means there are more medications which I can expect to be responsive.''