In the wake of Elizabeth Edward’s death this week, I’m reminded of a resiliency few people possess. With unending optimism toward life’s challenges, she faced her struggles head on, refusing to hide behind the curtain of her political husband.

Despite her public image as an attorney, best-selling author and health care activist, her most prized possesions were her children.  Ms. Edwards leaves behind two young children: 12-year-old Emma Claire and 10-year-old Jack along with 28-year-old Cate. Her oldest son, Wade, was killed in an auto accident at 16 years of age.

I’ve watched Ms. Edwards in the public light and admired her gracious and dignified attitude toward life’s challenges. She courageously grieved the loss of her oldest son after a sudden accident. She fought a valiant battle with breast cancer, remaining optimistic to the end that she would beat it.

She endured a public scandal for several years when it was revealed that her husband, John Edwards, had been unfaithful and fathered a child out of wedlock. Then, at the beginning of this year, she separated from John Edwards after 33 years of marriage and filed for divorce, choosing to live the end of her life alone with her children.

Her courage resonated in every interview and I admired her attitude toward hardship: “It’s easy to get through the good days. What’s most important is that when bad things happen, you have the strength to face it.”

Life is hard. No one gets to escape difficult times. But it is our choice as to how we will respond when bad things happen.

Will you garner the strength you need to face your stepparenting challenges this holiday season?

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