Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Father's Greatest Nightmare

Vice President Joe Biden (and I would dare say the nation) is today mourning the death of his son, former Delaware Attorney General  Beau Biden, who passed away from brain cancer last night.

In a statement Saturday night, the vice president said: “It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life.”

“In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.”

In 2010, the younger Mr. Biden, known as Beau, had suffered what officials described as a mild stroke. Three years later, he was admitted to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston after what White House officials described at the time as “an episode of disorientation and weakness.”

Officials said in 2013 that the doctors in Texas had removed a small lesion from his brain.

Mr. Biden’s death marks a second tragic loss for the vice president, whose first wife, Neilia, and 13-month-old daughter, Naomi, were killed in a car accident in 1972 when the station wagon they were driving in to go Christmas shopping was hit by a tractor-trailer. Beau Biden and his brother, Hunter, were also injured in the crash, but both survived.

A popular Democratic politician in his home state who was known to be very close to his father, Mr. Biden served two terms as Delaware’s top law enforcement official before announcing last year that he would not run for a third term so he could make a bid for governor in 2016.

“What started as a thought — a very persistent thought — has now become a course of action that I wish to pursue,” Mr. Biden wrote in an open letter to his constituents in April 2014.

As recently as late February, some Delaware politicians close to Mr. Biden told news organizations that they still believed Mr. Biden planned to run for governor in 2016.

But Mr. Biden’s health had apparently declined in recent weeks, and he was taken to Walter Reed on May 20.

I can only imagine the heartbreak Joe Biden must be going through, having lost a daughter and his first wife to tragedy more than 40 years ago.  For a father to outlive his child again must be truly miserable.

Prayers for Vice President Biden and his family today.

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