Joe Biden was 30 years old when he lost both his wife and daughter. "By focusing on my sons, I found my redemption," he once said.
President-elect Joe Biden is all set to move into the White House with his family and take over as the 46th President of The United States, with Jill Biden by his side as the First Lady. The two have been going strong ever since they first met in 1975, when Joe was a US senator while Jill was still in college. But the two were coming out of heartbreaks of their own at the time, with Jill trying to move on from a divorce and while Joe was grieving the deaths of his first wife, Neilia Biden, and their baby daughter who was barely a year old at the time.
Joe and Neilia, who were college sweethearts, had a beautiful family with three kids together.
It was the winter of 1972 when 30-year-old Neilia was out shopping before Christmas with the couple's two boys and 13-month-old daughter Naomi when their Chevrolet station wagon crashed into a tractor-trailer carrying corn, killing both Neilia and Naomi, as per Express UK.
Joe, who was in Washington DC interviewing staff members for his new office when he received the tragic news and his "whole world was altered forever”, as per his Yale University speech. Not only had the crash claimed the life of his beloved wife but also snuffed the life out of his infant daughter. Their sons, Joseph ‘Beau’ Biden III, 4, and Robert Hunter Biden, 3, fortunately, survived the accident.
He had lost his college sweetheart and the mother of his children but Joe Biden knew he had to bounce back for the sake of his two surviving sons, though it was not easy. Moving on from the death of your loved ones never is.
While addressing the families of fallen U.S. soldiers in 2012, he recalled, “I remember looking up and saying, ‘God,’ as if I was talking to God myself, ‘You can't be good, how can you be good?' For the first time in my life, I understood how someone could consciously decide to commit suicide," according to People. "Not because they were deranged, not because they were nuts, because they had been to the top of the mountain, and they just knew in their heart they would never get there again.”
In his 2017 book titled Promise Me, Dad, the soon-to-be president opened about the emotional trauma he went through and wrote, “The pain seemed unbearable in the beginning, and it took me a long time to heal, but I did survive the punishing ordeal. I made it though, with a lot of support, and reconstructed my life and my family.”
According to CBS News, Joe took the U.S senator's oath at a Wilmington hospital in January, just days after the ill-fated accident. He was sworn in at the bedside of his older son, Beau, who was still recovering from the traumatic car crash. "By focusing on my sons, I found my redemption," he said during a 2015 speech.
He was mourning the loss of his wife and daughter when Jill, as aspiring teacher like the Neilia, walked into his life and helped him rebuild his life by overcoming the life-changing tragedy. “She gave me back my life. She made me start to think my family might be whole again,” he wrote in his 2007 memoir.
Now, 48 years later, he paid a visit to the gravesites of Neilia and Naomi marking a solemn anniversary on Friday, December 18, reported People. The 78-year-old visited the graves of his deceased first wife and daughter at a cemetery, situated outside of St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church, in Wilmington, Delaware.
Joe was joined by the soon-to-be First Lady, their daughter Ashley Biden, 39, and son-in-law, oncologist Howard Krein, according to The Associated Press. They attended the mass and then went to pay the graves a visit.
Jill, as always, pointed out her husband's strength, empathy, and compassion during her DNC speech by retelling how her husband, handled all the tragic losses in his life as she tried to comfort all the families who lost their dear ones during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as per People.
“How do you make a broken family whole?" she asked and then answered by saying, "The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding, and with small acts of compassion — with bravery, with unwavering faith.”