Joe Biden’s standing among Americans has had its ups and downs.
The vice president is known as a garrulous guy, seemingly without a care in the world.
The reality, which was driven home yet again this weekend, is that he has suffered more heartache than most of us.
Vice President Biden’s son, Beau, died of a brain tumor. He was 46 years of age. He is survived by his wife and two children.
And a grieving father.
As the essay by Ezra Klein notes, Joe Biden’s own political career almost ended before it really took off. In December, before he took office in the U.S. Senate, to which he was elected, the senator-elect’s wife and daughter died in an auto accident. His two sons, Beau and Hunter, suffered serious injury. Sen.-elect Biden was just 29 at the time he was elected and would celebrate his 30th birthday before being sworn in, making him constitutionally qualified to serve in the Senate.
He wanted to quit. His friends talked him into staying the course. He took his oath next to his son Beau’s hospital bed.
Sen. Biden would marry again. Jill Biden became his children’s new “mom,” and the couple brought more children into the world together.
Klein’s essay recalls a startling speech Biden made in 2012, in which he said how he came to understand why someone would want to take their own life. They’d been “to the mountain top,” he said, and they knew they wouldn’t ever get there again.
The vice president has been to several mountain tops in his most eventful life. As of today, though, he is suffering the level of grief that isn’t supposed to happen. He’s having to bury a child — yet again.
Oh, the strength that lies within some of us.
As Klein noted in that remarkable 2012 speech: “There will come a day – I promise you, and your parents as well – when the thought of your son or daughter, or your husband or wife, brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye,” Biden says. “It will happen.”