Two days after he buried his second child, Vice President Joe Biden released a heartbreaking statement about Beau's passing in a simple tweet — the first in over a week. Beau Biden, a former attorney general of Delaware and National Guard member, died of brain cancer on May 31. He was laid to rest on Saturday following a funeral Mass at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware, where the Biden family resided for decades.
"Our deepest gratitude for everyone's kindness & compassion," Biden wrote on his official Twitter account. "Your love & admiration for Beau has touched us beyond measure."
The vice president signed the tweet, "The Biden Family," which encompasses his wife, Jill Biden; his two surviving children, Hunter and Ashley; and Beau's wife, Hallie, and their two children. Biden's first wife, Neilia, died in a car crash in 1972, just weeks after a young Biden was elected to the U.S. Senate. His daughter, Naomi, also died in the crash.
The fact that Biden's political life began with harrowing personal tragedy has been marked his career. The vice president has spoken often and publicly of how to survive grief, depression and heartbreak.
While addressing the families of fallen soldiers in 2012, Biden revealed he had frequent thoughts of suicide following the deaths of his wife and daughter. " For the first time in my life, I understood how someone could consciously decide to commit suicide," Biden said in his address. "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."
Back in 2008, Beau introduced his father at the Democratic National Convention by sharing their family's story of picking up the pieces in the wake of tragedy. "One of my earliest memories was being in that hospital, my dad always at our side," Beau said. "We — my brother and I, not the Senate — were all that we cared about."
Biden did not speak at his son's funeral on Saturday. Instead, President Obama delivered the eulogy. "To know Beau Biden is to know which choice he made in his life," Obama said as he addressed the 1,000 mourners at Saint Anthony's on Saturday. "To know Joe and the rest of the Biden family is to understand why Beau lived the life he did."
"He did in 46 years what most of us couldn’t do in 146," the president added. "[Beau] left nothing in the tank. He was a man who led a life where the means were as important as the ends."
In one of the only public statements released since Beau's death, the Biden family called their son "the finest man any of us have ever known."
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