President-elect Joe Biden knows the pain of grief — and that makes him the leader America needs right now

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President-elect Joe Biden’s victory speech was different than most. Beneath the calls for hope and unity, there was a somber undercurrent. 

He read a verse from “On Eagle’s Wings,” a hymn very often played at funerals in the Catholic church. 

“And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,

Bear you on the breath of dawn,

Make you to shine like the sun,

And hold you in the palm of His Hand,” Biden read. 

The president-elect mentioned, by name, his late son Beau Biden, the former attorney general of Delaware, who died in 2015 of brain cancer at the age of 46. 

“This is the time to heal in America,” the 77-year-old declared, repeating the word “heal” two other times throughout his speech.

After Biden was done speaking, fireworks lit up the night sky as Coldplay’s “Sky Full of Stars” blared through the speakers. The song was later revealed to be Beau’s favorite. Coldplay had played at his funeral. 

The following day, as millions of Americans continued to celebrate Biden’s win, the president-elect visited Beau’s gravesite. 

Biden, one of the most powerful men in the world, isn’t afraid to show that he’s grieving, that he’s vulnerable. 

Come January, he will inherit a nation that’s struggling to grieve the many who have died from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the opioid epidemic this year — a combined death toll of over 315,400 this year so far. The fact that he too is mourning could have a powerful impact on American society, possibly reshaping our shared notions of leadership, masculinity, and power.

Biden knows the impact of grief 

Purposefully or not, Biden has become a symbol for mourning. 

Besides losing Beau in 2015, the president-elect has also lost his first wife, Neila Hunter, and their baby daughter, Naomi, both of whom died in a car accident while out Christmas shopping in 1972. The then-senator was 29 years old.

Over the years, he’s given over 60 eulogies for friends, relatives, former staff members, and public figures, The New York Times reported. In June, he delivered a message to friends and loved ones of George Floyd, saying “You’re so brave.” 

And he’s shared the most intimate moments of his life with the world.

On Stephen Colbert’s “The Colbert Report” in 2017, Biden talked about his book “Promise Me, Dad.” 

The then former-vice-president recounted the evening he made a promise to Beau that he would continue on, and would keep living with a sense of purpose after his son’s death. “Promise me Dad you’ll be OK,” Beau had said. 

“That was the promise,” Biden said in the interview. 

When the late-night show talk host asked Biden why he wrote the book, Biden replied: “I wanted to give people hope — that through purpose you can find your way through grief.” 

Speaking to mourning military families in 2012, Biden talked about having suicidal thoughts as a result of grief. “For the first time in my life, I could understand how someone could consciously decide to commit suicide,” he said. 

In a conversation with Oprah, he described the last moments with Beau before …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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