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Heartbreaking story of the accident that killed Joe Biden's first wife and daughter

Saturday, October 3, 2020 • Tamil Comments

US Presidential nominee Joe Biden, who is normally viewed as a warm, good-natured person, has, in reality, been through an extremely tragic life. While it is known that Joe Biden's son Beau passed away from brain cancer at the age of 46 in 2015, the worst tragedy in Biden's life happened in December 1972, just a few weeks after he had won the Delaware Senate election. His wife Neilia and their 1-year-old daughter Naomi were killed in a car accident and Biden became a single father to his two sons, Hunter and Beau, who were 2 and 3 years old at the time.

Neilia Hunter, who was born on 28 July 1942 to successful diner operators in New York state, married Joe Biden on 27 August 1966, three years after they met on the beach in Nassau during spring break. The couple's only daughter Naomi was born on 8 November 1971. Days before Christmas in 1972, Neilia took 13-month-old Naomi and her sons, Hunter and Beau, out shopping where the mother and daughter were killed in a car accident after a tractor-trailer carrying corn broadsided the family's Chevrolet station wagon. In his 2017 book 'Promise Me, Dad,' Biden 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 through, with a lot of support, and reconstructed my life and my family." Biden then began commuting four hours a day, every day, between their home in Wilmington, Delaware, and Washington, D.C., where, at 30, he was serving as the second-youngest senator in the history of United States. "I did it because I wanted to be able to kiss them (his sons Hunter and Beau) goodnight and kiss them in the morning the next day. But looking back on it, the truth be told, the real reason I went home every night was that I needed my children more than they needed me," he said during his speech at Yale University.

Joe Biden met Jill Jacobs, a fellow student at the University of Delaware, in 1975. When she became an indispensable part of their lives, Biden, prompted by his sons, proposed to Jacobs for marriage. Shortly before their wedding in 1977, Biden asked his fiancée how she could commit herself to marriage knowing his feelings for his first wife. "Anybody who can love that deeply once can do it again," she reportedly replied. Joe wrote, "That's when I realized exactly what Jill's love had done for me. It had given me permission to be me again." In her autobiography 'Where The Light Enters,' Jill Biden had written, "It was profoundly unfair. To take a mother from her children; to take a daughter from her father. Joe Biden had had everything, and in a horrible second, it was gone." Hunter Biden, who was in a critical condition along with Beau Biden following the accident, spoke about what he remembered of the tragic incident while delivering Beau's eulogy in 2015. "The first memory I have is of lying in a hospital bed next to my brother. I was almost three years old. I remember my brother who was one year and one day older than me, holding my hand, staring into my eyes, saying, 'I love you, I love you, I love you' over and over and over again."

Biden faced tragedy yet again in 2015 with Beau's passing. The presidential nominee then became passionate about cancer research and also became an advocate for mental health. Speaking about Biden's resoluteness at the time, former White House photographer David Lienemann said, "He did something that I don't think I would be able to do, and I haven't really ever seen anyone else do. Instead of wallowing in the tragedy, he really pushed himself to do more. President (Obama) announced the Cancer Moonshot initiative to drive cancer research and make huge leaps forward in treatment and research. And the vice president and Dr. Biden led that initiative while they were still grieving over their son."

Thousands of Americans who lost their family members to COVID-19 this year, apparently sought solace in Biden. In an interview with a news agency, Joe Biden said that "hundreds of people... throw their arms over me as they tell me about the hard losses of their parents, children, and spouses, and all they want to know is that they can make it." He added, "The way you make it is you find purpose and you realize they're inside you. They're part of you. It's impossible to separate."

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