John and Elizabeth Edwards were not legally divorced

Yahoo News reports that former presidential hopeful John Edwards and his deceased wife Elizabeth Edwards were not yet legally divorced. They were only separated for 11 months. In North Carolina, as in New York and other states, a couple who files for legal separation must live apart for a year before it can be commuted into a divorce. Elizabeth died shy of the 12 month mark:

The first murmurs of a John and Elizabeth Edwards divorce began during the 2008 presidential campaign, when Edwards reluctantly admitted that he fathered a child in 2007 with his mistress, Rielle Hunter. Although her husband withdrew himself from presidential contention in January 2008, Edwards chose not to speak out on the infidelity subject for some time, delaying any lengthy public statements until their official separation last January. Legally, divorce could not be initiated until the couple lived apart for 12 months; Edwards’ death occurred one month shy of the minimum separation allotment.

Still, other news reports are that the former senator was at his wife’s side when she passed. I can’t imagine how guilty he must feel under the circumstances. In life, I have come to realize that is is infinitely better to do the right thing EVERY time. Impossible, yes. But it is the best thing a person can do for themselves. Because guilt is a horrible emotion and when mixed with grief, I am not even sure how he copes. Had he stuck by his wife and bore the trauma of her illness rather than have an affair, this might not have been so bad. Barring that, if he really met and fell in love with someone else, he should have been man enough to come clean to his wife and gotten a separation or divorce before starting a new relationship. That way, his conscience would have been a lot clearer than I bet it is right now.
No one is perfect. But in life, it’s just better to try to do the right thing from the start. It’s just better.
Well, RIP, Elizabeth. You looked like the typical first lady. I am sure if he had won, you would have been great at it. And I’m so sorry it had to end the way it did.