Monday, June 1, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: VP Joe Biden on grief and loss

Most people can't fathom losing one child -- let alone both your child AND your spouse in a single day in a tragic car accident, which critically injures your two other children as well (presenting the very real possibility that your entire family might be wiped out) -- at Christmastime, before you've even turned 30 years old.

U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden lived that nightmare, back in 1972, just as he was launching his career in the Senate. And over this past weekend, one of his two surviving sons from his first marriage, Beau, passed away from cancer at age 46.

I think I first heard about the Biden family's story around the time of the 2008 election. If I remember correctly, both Beau (who introduced his dad at the Democratic national convention) and his father referred to the tragedy in their convention speeches.

A couple of years ago, I caught the VP on the news, giving a speech unlike any other I could ever recall a politician making. He was addressing a group called TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), which offers support to anyone grieving the death of someone who served in the military. He spoke frankly about his loss, and how it had affected him personally. And he offered hope to the bereaved:  things do get better, eventually.

It's an amazing speech, and if you have 20 minutes to watch the full thing, here it is:

If you only have a few minutes, watch this excerpt that was shown on Rachel Maddow's show:  

My heart goes out to the Biden family as they mourn the loss of their son. 

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here


  1. It's truly a tragedy. No parent should outlive their child. But you're right: Biden's message is very inspirational. That there can be sunshine after the storm. And I know you're living proof of that too.

  2. I thank you for directing me to this speech. It is beautiful, heartfelt, and true. He speaks about it so well. You can tell he connected to the people in the audience. It's so very sad to watch.

  3. Biden also gave a speech recently to Yale in which he talked about the importance of family and of compassion... Beau's speech at the 2008 convention is also included here:

  4. My heart goes out to Mr Biden and anyone who has endured the loss of a child.


  5. My heart stopped when I heard the news about his son. I've seen that speech linked to a few times during the past few days, and I'm trying to carve out the time to listen to the whole thing.

  6. Thank you Mr. Biden for your honest and heartfelt speech, and for sharing your experience so that others may see a light at the end of a very, very long tunnel.

  7. Made me cry. I didn't know a thing about his history, so this is something new for me.

  8. I have been reading and following all the coverage and funeral eulogies associated with the Bidens. This family has shown so much dignity, strength, honesty and heart aches for them. I was in tears listening live to the funeral tributes ...