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Joe Biden Talks About Overcoming the Grief of Losing His Son

The former Vice President knows his son would be furious if he ever stopped making the most of life.


A little more than two years ago, former Vice President Joe Biden faced a terrible loss when his 46-year-old son Beau died after a multi-year battle with brain cancer. Last night, Biden spoke with Stephen Colbert about this unimaginable circumstance and how he’s avoided succumbing to his grief. Biden said that purpose and hope are the two biggest things that have kept him going, two things he attributes, in large part, thanks to Beau.

Biden was on The Late Show to talk about his book Promise Me, Dad which was inspired by a conversation with Beau during the last years of his life. Beau told his dad that no matter what happened, he’d be okay and that his biggest concern was his father’s wellbeing. So he made his dad promise that he would not stop living life even after he was gone. Beau told his father he didn’t want him to ever stop trying to make the world a better place. The Vice President took his son’s inspiring and challenging words to heart.

Since his son’s tragic death, Biden has shown no signs of slowing down when it comes to trying to help others . While he may not have ended up running for President (yet), Biden has kept himself busy with other work, such as leading the diplomacy center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Biden closed out the conversation with Colbert by explaining that Beau still factors into every big decision he has to make or challenge he faces, as he will always ask himself what choice or action would make his son most proud. No matter what happens, children will always help define their parents.