Sneed: The Edwards Memorial

Written By By Michael Sneed Posted: 04/13/2014, 02:29am
Array Elizabeth Edwards

A grave visitor . . .

Dateline: The heart line . . . Former Dem presidential hopeful John Edwards is still a frequent visitor to his wife’s grave.

“He was here within the week,” said sculptor Robert Mihaly, who is finally nearing completion on a marble monument to John’s wife, Elizabeth Edwards, who famously endured cancer, her husband’s infidelity and his child out of wedlock.

Begun shortly after the 2010 death of Edwards, who became a beacon of courage to readers of her books, the 8-foot memorial greets thousands of visitors each year to her unmarked grave in a Raleigh, N.C., cemetery.

“The cemetery tour guide told me they had never had a tour go by the Edwards gravesite without someone making a negative comment about the former senator,” he added.

“One day the tour guide and cemetery director were chatting and there was someone on the tour saying bad things about John Edwards — and a man down by the monument took his hat off — and it was John Edwards himself!” Mihaly said.

The grave is not marked with names or any identification, but visitors are drawn to the doves hovering over her grave, according to Mihaly, who claims the statue is “almost done and cost $80,000 to construct.”

Wife of a wealthy, handsome senator, Elizabeth Edwards lost a teenage son in a 1996 car accident, was stricken with breast cancer at age 55 and then endured disclosures of her husband’s extramarital affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter, who bore him a daughter. She died at the age of 61.

The couple subsequently separated and Edwards became a best-selling author. (One of her books described how her husband had lied to her and spurned her advice to abandon his run for the presidency.)

The monument is a flock of 27 doves “spiraling toward the sky,” said Mihaly.

The couple’s daughter Cate paid for it in pre-1964 silver currency at Mihaly’s request — he was worried about the fluctuating value of federal reserve notes. The value of silver crashed not long afterwards, Mihaly said.

“She called me a couple days before she died and I went to see her,” she told Sneed. “I went to her bedside, and she described what she wanted. She was kind of modest, just wanted a little rectangular block of stone.

“But her daughter Cate had a less modest idea,” Mihaly said, who also claims he always encourages his clients to think big.

“It wound up being a flock of doves flying out of Cate’s hands.”

Edwards’ grave is next to her son, Wade, who was killed in a car accident at age 16.

“The specific thing she asked for which we haven’t begun on . . . [is to] carve vines out of stone and trail across the stone, which go to embrace her son’s monument,” Mihaly said.

“Any person stumbling across this, by seeing the vines and the dates would know it was a mother’s expression of love for her son.”


Sneedlings . . .

Saturday’s birthdays: David Letterman, 67; Herbie Hancock, 74, and Claire Danes, 35 . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Al Green, 68; Ron Perlman, 64, and Carol’s Tom Carroll, ageless and priceless.

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