Remembering my friend Elizabeth Imus-LaDue, who showed me how to heal and forgive

I believe God brought Elizabeth into my life for a reason

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My friend Elizabeth Imus-LaDue died a few weeks ago.

It’s taken me this long to write about it because it was hard to put into words what she meant to me. 

A few years ago I wrote a book called "Mostly Sunny." It’s a memoir about my life and the experiences that helped shape the person I am today (both good and bad). 

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One of the chapters was about a job in September 2002 that brought me to New York City and what should have been the best of my life: working with broadcasting legend Don Imus. Unfortunately, that career move turned out to be a nightmare of abuse for over a year. I knew I needed to find another job and in January 2004 I came over to Fox.

But the year I worked for Imus continued to haunt me until January 2020 when I received an email from my friend Monica Crowley. 

Monica told me she was in touch with Elizabeth Imus-Ladue, one of Don Imus’ daughters. She told me she had a message from Elizabeth and would it be OK to pass along?  

My stomach did a few flips because I was worried I might have hurt her somehow with what I said about her dad in my book, but I agreed to connect. 

When I opened her note, it brought me to tears. She told me she had read what I wrote about her father and she believed every single word.

Suddenly, it felt like a heavy weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It was acknowledgment that I wasn’t crazy or lying. 

Admittedly, for many years, I had wished that Don Imus might apologize for the way he treated me. It never happened. However, in many ways, this letter from his daughter meant even more. 

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Elizabeth and I kept in touch, and she confided that she was working on a book of her own to try and help others. I told her I would do whatever I could to make that happen.

Elizabeth Imus-LaDue

Elizabeth Imus-LaDue (Courtesy Imus family)

In the fall of this year, I received an email with the title "Bad News." 

I opened it up and was shocked to read that Elizabeth had been diagnosed with an incurable malignant glioblastoma. 

How could this be possible? I wrote her back immediately and said I was here for her if she needed to talk or just have someone listen. 

We spoke and texted often over the last few months. She was bravely accepting that her time on Earth was coming to an end, and she wanted to be close to family. 

She told me one of the most incredible moments had just happened: seeing her mom and sisters, who hadn’t been in the same room together for over 20 years.  

She admitted being grateful to cancer for those few hours without experiencing the pain, hurt or shame of the past – instead it was joyful, and a true miracle.

At that moment, I realized that Elizabeth was brought into my life for a reason. Her father, the one that gave me a tough time in my life, also indirectly gave me this gift of knowing his daughter. 

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It also brought me to the city where I would meet the love of my life and have a family of my own.

The last time I spoke to Elizabeth she was getting an infusion, and we had some time to chat while she was in the doctor’s office. 

I remember laughing quite a bit as she told me she was having a new appreciation for food, including an appetite for delicious cheese and wine. 

Lizzie (as she was fondly called) was having a wonderful time with her husband Michael, son John and daughter Samantha. 

She was enjoying the small moments and taking it all in: Posting happy pictures on Instagram and writing about it on her blog. And, despite the tragic diagnosis, she was at peace. 

She implored friends to take stock in all the good in this life – it’s right there in front of us if we choose to accept it. 

Before we said goodbye on what would be our last phone call, I told her I was so grateful for Don Imus bringing us together. We both laughed.

I told her I loved her, and to take care of herself. We’d talk again soon.

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And although I was sad when I heard Elizabeth had died, I was also so grateful I had met this wonderful woman. 

I believe God had placed her in my path to help me heal, and learn to forgive others, including her father.

As we enter a new year still filled with many challenges from the past, I thought it would be appropriate to share some of my dear friend Elizabeth’s own words during her final days:

"When people greet me, I greet them with an enthusiastic smile and positive attitude. It's contagious. I begin each day saying to myself, "no matter how sad or frustrated I feel I'm going to respond with kindness and compassion. I'm going to listen and be emotionally present and savor each moment.

I now realize my soul’s life purpose. 

To walk each day with gratitude and grace.

Gratitude and grace are not something you wish for or hope to have. Gratitude and grace is a conscious choice that requires the action of extremely focusing your attention.

Choosing to think about what I DO want versus think about and ultimately manifest what I don't want. Thinking about what is good versus what is bad. Envisioning a great outcome versus the worst scenario. Accepting life as it shows up each day, just how it was supposed to be and smiling about it. 

I am not a human being having a spiritual experience. I am a spirit having a human experience. 

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Stop worrying, stop complaining, row your own boat and start living. 

With all my love, 

Elizabeth Imus-LaDue"

Thank you, Elizabeth. Thank you for your friendship and kindness when I least expected it.

I know you’re up in heaven making the angels laugh.

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