Yesterday, death saturated the news. First, December 8th is the 30th anniversary of the assassination of visionary Beatle, John Lennon. I remember my mom telling me about that event when it happened. I didn't really know who John Lennon was at the time, but I knew that he was a singer who was married to a Japanese lady. My mom told me that he had said to his wife that he wanted to go before her. He got his wish. He was 40, though, and on the verge of a comeback. He had just released a new album, featuring my favourite Lennon song: "Woman", which I consider the most beautiful tribute EVER.
I haven't read much into the details of his death, but from what I remember, a disturbed young man named Mark David Chapman gunned Lennon down at his apartment in New York City. Chapman thought he was the real Lennon and that Lennon was the imposter. Yeah, I'd say that qualifies as "crazy" (his brand of crazy would fit in well with the current crop of Republicans).
Chapman deprived the world of a musical genius. A visionary. An icon. Who knows what beautiful melodies and songs we have missed out on these past three decades. It would have been great to hear Lennon's views on the Gulf War, 9/11, the Bush Administration, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Since I wrote a longer post about Lennon back in October of this year in honour of the 70th anniversary of his birth, I don't have more to add other than to say, "Rest in Peace, good man!" Thank you for creating such an awesome song called "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)"! If Karma would only be so instantaneous, our world would transform as the guilty receive their just desserts when it might matter the most.
Speaking of "Instant Karma," we get to the other big news item from yesterday: Elizabeth Edwards had died of cancer, which was shocking in its immediacy. On Monday, the news reported that doctors have decided that there was nothing more that they could do for her and she had weeks to live. The diagnosis must have hit her hard, because she died the next day.
Elizabeth Edwards had been through a lot in the past four years. She is much admired by many people. During the presidential campaign of her husband John, she was a major asset. One got the impression that John couldn't get elected dogcatcher without his wife. She wasn't afraid to disagree with her husband on political issues in the public realm, such as when she indicated that she didn't have any problem with gay marriages like John does.
The lady had spunk. She also had incredible intelligence and a knack for connecting with people. She might've made an excellent First Lady. However, that's where we come to her supposed "dark side" (as portrayed in the books The Politician and Game Change). In all fairness, it could not have been easy to be faced with a philandering husband. In her denial of the ultimate betrayal, she lashed out at John's political aide Andrew Young and made him into the scapegoat / pariah.
What happened to that marriage? Its part of the Edwards folklore that Elizabeth's greatest fear was that her husband would cheat on her. She supposedly made him promise her (before she agreed to marry him) that he would never cheat on her. Granted, it is a far-fetched idea if true. I would say that most people getting engaged aren't thinking about cheating on their beloved. That comes later with temptation, boredom with routines, and the excitement one feels when they meet someone new and feel some kind of connection.
Part of the mythology of the Edwards relationship was the claim that they spend every anniversary at Wendys. I'm assuming that's the place where John proposed to Elizabeth, which is lame. Jay Leno onced joked in his opening monologue that John was probably the only guy in America who could get away with taking his wife to Wendys on their anniversary. I got the impression that this might have been the kind of story they told to endear them to average voters as "one of them." Maybe they started their anniversary evening at Wendys or ate lunch there, but did something more special later on.
If I were to take a guess about where things went wrong, I would say that it might have been rooted in the "Benjamin Buttonesque" nature of their physical selves. John Edwards simply does not look like a man in his 50s. He's youthful and many women find him attractive, especially a certain golddigging New Age party girl. Elizabeth looked her age. I've read an article once that it is psychologically difficult for a woman who is in a relationship with an extremely good looking man. Women are often judged on their appearance alone, while men are judged by our intelligence, experience, accomplishments and/or leadership ability. Looking good is only bonus. So if women are judged primarily on their looks, and they are in a relationship where the man is more attractive, that cannot be easy for her. Not that Elizabeth was unattractive. I think she still looked good. Plus, its hard to beat intelligence and decades of shared history.
Yet some golddigging whore was able to slither her way into John Edwards' life, flattering him with comparisons to Gandhi and Dr. King until he was thinking with his "second brain." It was a decision that had karmic consequences. Everything came crashing down. Was it worth it? That's the question I'd love to ask John Edwards. Was the affair that Rielle Hunter offered worth the trashing of a thirty year marriage, a political ambition, his reputation? Was it worth it?
The most outrageous thing I read in Young's The Politician was that he was repeatedly assured by John Edwards that Elizabeth was going to die "soon" (in 2008) and once that occurred, Edwards would admit the truth about Hunter to the public so that Young didn't have to pretend to be her baby's daddy anymore. What a scumbag! Rielle Hunter was already planning their wedding (she believed that the Dave Matthews Band would perform at their wedding). I think its truly sick that John Edwards might have been a little too excited about the prospect of his wife's death so he could be with Rielle Hunter, happily never after!
With Elizabeth finally out of the way, the ultimate question is: Will John now marry Rielle Hunter? My guess is that the relationship was purely physical and once the initial attraction wore off, Edwards probably realized that they had nothing deeper in common. According to Young, Hunter is a needy, flaky, annoying woman with a lot of demands and an insatiable appetite for a wealthy lifestyle (on someone else's dime). Hey, Rielle should give Sarah Palin a call. They'd be perfect shopping buddies together at Nieman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Just give them a Republican issued credit card without limits and let 'em go to town on the next episode of Sarah Palin's Alaska! They can gab about what its like to have hot, incredible sex with their lovers in an igloo.
According to my belief system, Elizabeth Edwards will receive a life review after she passed from our realm into the spiritual realm. This life review process is for the individual soul to see if she lived the life she had planned before incarnating into this life as Elizabeth. The only judgment that occurs is the one we give ourselves. Naturally, since our egos don't make the journey to the spiritual realm (it dies with the body), there is no denial or defense mechanism to hide the truth from ourselves. We get the unvarnished truth of everything we said, did, and experienced. Elizabeth will also get the chance to know the whole truth about her husband, and learn if he had cheated on her before (if he hadn't confessed everything already). Her soul will also learn the truth regarding Andrew Young, and if she did indeed treat him like shit and blamed him for her husband not winning the Democratic primary, well...that's something she will have to account for. I wish her soul well in this discovery period.
We all go through this life review and it is painful for everyone, because we have all had moments when we did not act in the best possible manner. The trick to life is to remember the life review each time we interact with people. If we knew that we will have to experience this moment again from the other person's perspective, how would that change the way we act towards them?
Even though I don't think too highly of her after deciding in 2006 to continue with John Edwards ambition to be president after knowing the truth about his affair with Rielle, I think she got a raw deal from her husband. One would hate to be him when the life review occurs for him someday. As I said in my review of the book The Politician last week, the sordid saga of the Edwards family is probably the most fascinating self-destructions we have ever seen in our Generation X lifetime. We can learn so much from this saga and thus avoid the same fate that befell them. Like John Lennon said: "Instant karma is gonna get you! May we all shine on." Amen!