We all know that illness and tragedy are not selective, that they are happy to destroy anyone and everyone, rich and poor, the ‘average Joe’ and also, as we learn today, the top Joe.
Senator Joe Biden seemed, in the eyes of the ‘outside’ world, to have it all. In some ways, more than President Obama. The buck stops with Obama, he takes the credit but he also takes the criticism. Joe Biden, Vice-President, I guess he gets a right ear-full at times from Obama but he is, on the whole, immune from the flack that comes Obama’s way. Meanwhile, he’s the Vice-President of the United States of America, a prestigious title if ever there was one, he gets a ton of respect in Washington and beyond and he moves in the most exalted circles. He takes the smooth without the rough.
So, Senator Biden, a charmed life, earned but charmed, yes?
Beau Biden, 46, Senator Joe Biden’s beloved son, has just passed away – brain cancer. As if the Senator hadn’t already suffered enough! In 1972, he lost his wife and young daughter in a car accident. How he carried on in 1972, I can’t imagine but now this!! How much can a person take?
Senator Biden’s heartbreaking tribute:
“Beau embodied my father’s saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did….In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.”
“He (Beau) studied the law, like his dad, even choosing the same law school. He chased a life of public service, like his dad, serving in Iraq and as Delaware’s Attorney General….Like his dad, Beau was a good, big-hearted, devoutly Catholic and deeply faithful man, who made a difference in the lives of all he touched, and he lives on in their hearts.”
Beau Biden announced recently that he planned to run for Governor Of Delaware in 2016.
In 1972, when Senator Biden’s wife and daughter were killed in the car crash, he opted not to move to Washington, choosing instead to make the 2 1/2-hour daily round-trip train commute from Delaware to his Senate job so that he could spend more time with his sons. He married Jill Jacobs, his second wife, some five years after his first wife died. A good man, devoted to his family, a man who positioned himself so that his family life would not be sacrificed by his work, he has buried a daughter and a wife and now buries his son.
I’m not singling out Joe Biden for sympathy over and above the families of thousands of other families who lost loved ones to cancer and other illnesses and conditions on the same day that Beau Biden passed away. I simply learnt of the tragedy when reading the news today so I have blogged about it. The juxtaposition between the life we perceive people to have and the reality is often startling – the contrast between the life we perceived Senator Biden to have and the reality is stark. He has lived with a broken heart since 1972, behind the smiles has lived utter desolation and the vagaries of life have re-visited him and kicked him whilst he’s down. Even if he was harbouring an intention to run against Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democrat Party Nomination, surely now he barely has the ability to get out of bed in the morning.
No one can ever sit back, feeling self-satisfied, feet under the table, untouchable, immune. We can wear armour made of billions of pounds and lock ourselves away in a fortress built with fame and adulation but illness, disease and tragedy can still find a way through it all and if they don’t visit us, old age and its representatives will eventually get us.
Depressing and frightening? Yes, of course, in many ways, but this awareness should also serve us well. These tragic stories remind us of the importance of living life to the max and of taking advantage of the good times when they are with us.
Beau Biden RIP. G-d Bless the Biden family.