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Edwards spoke of dying in last public appearance

Posted December 7, 2010 6:26 p.m. EST
Updated December 7, 2010 11:41 p.m. EST

— Elizabeth Edwards didn't mince words during a speech two months ago at Cleary University in Michigan, which was her last known public appearance.

"I have Stage 4 cancer, and I am dying," Edwards told the audience in Howell, Mich., on Oct. 7. "The outlook for me is pretty dim unless there's great breakthroughs."

A straightforward Edwards lamented that, had she been more proactive, she might have caught the breast cancer she was diagnosed with in 2004 earlier.

"I did not take advantage of the tests that we knew we had for breast cancer," she said. "Like many women, I made sure my children had their annual check-ups, and I did not have mine."

She talked about pursuing dreams, such as the "frivolous" endeavor of opening a furniture store.

The Red Window store opened last year on West Rosemary Street in Chapel Hill. It was named after a store her mother had – the Red Door – when the family lived in Japan during Edwards' youth.

Edwards also touched on the tragedy that has befallen her family.

"(We are) a family that has been tested and failed and tested and hurt and tested and held onto each other with a ferocity, which gives me real hope," she said.

One of the more moving moments in the appearance was when she quoted poet Jane Kenyon, who died of leukemia in 1995.

"I slept in a bed in a room with paintings on the walls, and planned another day just like this day. But one day, I know, it will be otherwise," she said.