For we Delawareans, this past week has been a particularly sad one. Joseph R. Biden, III (aka Beau), a former two-term state Attorney General, died from brain cancer at the age of 46-years.
Beau was the son of U. S. Vice President, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (aka Joe), who also represented Delaware in the U. S. Senate for well over 30-years prior to being elected Vice President.
I’ve known Joe Biden for 57-years. He was a grade behind me, but we both graduated from St. Helena’s Parochial School in the late 50s. We even competed in Babe Ruth Baseball.
I even bought two automobiles from his uncle Frank who worked at the former Colonial Chevrolet on North Market Street in Wilmington.
While I was a solid Bill Roth Republican, I never hesitated to vote for Democrats if I felt they were more qualified and more compassionately fit for the office.
Joe Biden has always been a good man. He’s a shirtsleeve American’s politician who has always kept his personal politics well within the confines of social compassion. It’s why I’ve never failed to vote for him!
Beau—although I remember when he needed both hands to hold one of those 7-ounce green-tinted bottles of Coke soft drink—grew into a younger image of his father.
In terms of their political purpose and social compassion, you couldn’t wedge a micro-fiber between them.
Delawareans love this family, and there is not a doubt—no matter what his competition may have claimed—that had Beau remained healthy, he would have become our Governor in 2016.
I’m not going to rehash all of the accolades Beau and his family have received over the past week. Simply read the news accounts for yourselves.
I attended one of the viewings at St. Anthony’s in Wilmington, as did thousands of others. I actually had to search for people who were not bubbly-eyed, myself included.
I also attended the funeral mass. The church proper was filled to capacity (1,000 people). Another 200-300 were in the church auditorium. Again, bubbly-eyed dominated the emotional scene.
While outside the church, people by the hundreds lined the streets around it for several hours to pay their respects to the Biden family.
The streets in the immediate vicinity of the church were CLOSED down for three days (Wednesday evening through Saturday late afternoon. The residents were permitted to remain, but if they left, they could not get back in.
The bulk of them chose to stay, and, so far, I’ve not heard a single complaint. That’s RESPECT; people love the Biden family, and it’s absolutely well deserved.
But as mind-wrenchingly difficult as this past week has been for this family, they now must embark on the next phase: learning to live without Beau.
Many things in this life can hurt people beyond description, and much of the time, the physical aspects of those hurts are secondary to their psychological impacts.
Loving parents losing children in death ranks at the top of the list—at least it’s at the top of mine. And based on personal experiences, I don’t believe for a second that ‘time heals all wounds.’
What it does—assuming that one has enough time left to let it happen—is apply some scar tissue to the wound which tends to lessen enough pain to stay sane. However, the wound remains.
I’m approaching my mid-70s. I was 15-years old when my father and youngest brother (3-years old) were killed in an automobile accident. And while it tore me to virtual threads, my mother—38-years old at the time—was distraught beyond description.
But time was on her side. It took almost 12-years, but she eventually met another man, a fantastic individual whom she eventually married. And while she never forgot my father, she learned to live without him.
As well, time was her ally regarding her 3-year-old son, my youngest brother. It provided enough scar tissue to let her keep her sanity and live out the rest of her life—she died at the age of 78-years.
But the hurt of losing a child never left her, and while she learned to live without him, every year on his birthday and Christmas, she would, at some point, seek the privacy of her bedroom and have a good cry.
Some wounds never go away! I wish the best for the Biden family.