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Elizabeth Edwards' funeral Saturday open to the public

December 9, 2010 |  9:03 am

Elizabeth Edwards with son Jack Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards' funeral, planned for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, N.C., will be open to the public, according to, which advises guests to arrive early.

Edwards died Tuesday at 61 after a long battle with breast cancer that had metastasized. Edenton Street United Methodist is where the family attends church. Whether media will be allowed access had not yet been decided Wednesday, CNN said.

"We have lost the comfort of Elizabeth's presence but she remains the heart of this family," reads a statement released by the family. "We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life."

Before her death, Edwards wrote a final message -- read it at the bottom of this post -- thanking friends, family and others for their support. She will be buried at the Historic Oakwood Cemetery, CNN said, near her son. Edwards, the mother of four, was a lawyer, an author, a teacher and active on several charitable boards, in addition to being a political wife who notably told her husband to continue his presidential campaign after they learned her cancer had returned.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Wade Edwards Learning Lab, a computer learning center founded in memory of Elizabeth and John Edwards' son Wade, who died in a 1996 car accident.

Her three surviving kids are Catharine, Emma Claire and Jack; John and Elizabeth were legally separated at the time of her death in the wake of revelations that he'd had an affair and fathered a child with another woman. Read Edwards' full obituary here.

The funeral has also made the Westboro Baptist Church's "picket schedule" -- members of the extremist church plan to voice their opinions a "respectful distance" from the funeral, in between protesting at other churches, high schools and military facilities and funerals in the manner that earned a hearing in front of the Supreme Court.

A message from Elizabeth Edwards:

You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces –- my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful. It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know.

With love,
Elizabeth ‬


Elizabeth Edwards dies at age 61, surrounded by family

Near death, Elizabeth Edwards quits cancer treatment

'I've had it': Elizabeth and John Edwards legally separate

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Elizabeth Edwards with son Jack in 2003. Credit: Robert Willett / Raleigh News & Observer / MCT