Nearly four months after the death of his son Beau, Vice President Joe Biden offered his most in depth and emotional reflection yet of the sorrow he’s experienced since his son’s passing.
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In an interview that aired Thursday night, the vice president said he felt he was “letting down Beau” if he “didn’t just get up" in the months following his death.
"No one owes you anything. You gotta get up. And I feel like I was letting down Beau, letting down my parents, letting down my family if I didn't just get up,” the vice president said in an interview on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” “I marvel at the ability of people who absorb hurt and just get back up.”
The vice president recounted how a few months before Beau passed away, his son told him, “‘I know how much you love me. Promise me you're going to be all right.’"
“My dad had an expression. He used to say: you know your success when you turn and look at your child and realize they turned out better than you. I was a hell of a success: my son was better than me,” he said.
Biden said he has felt “self-conscious” at times for the attention he’s received following his son’s death in May after a battle with brain cancer.
“So many people who have losses as severe or maybe worse than mine and don't have the support I have,” he said. "I feel self-conscious. The loss is serious and it's consequential but there are so many other people going through this."
But he says his Catholic faith has offered him an “enormous sense of solace” to help him cope with his loss.
“I go to mass and I'm able to be just alone, even in a crowd," he said. He added that his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, often tapes inspirational notes for him on his bathroom mirror including one that read “faith sees best in the dark.”
The vice president is still determining whether his family has the emotional capacity to run for president as they continue to grieve the loss of Beau. He recounted a moment after Beau’s death where he met with servicemembers in Denver and he “lost it” when someone said they knew Beau.
“I was talking about them being the backbone and sinew of this country. And all of a sudden — it’s going great — and a guy in the back yells ‘Major Beau Biden, bronze star sir, served with him in Iraq.’ And all of a sudden I lost it,” he said.
The vice president said no one should run for president unless they are “110 percent” committed to the endeavor and admitted “I’d be lying if I said that I knew I was there.”
“I don’t think any man or woman should run for president unless number 1, they know exactly why they would want to be president and number 2, they can look folks out there and say I promise you, you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy, and my passion to do this,” Biden said. “I’d be lying if I said that I knew I was there.”
“Nobody has a right in my view to seek that office unless they’re willing to give it 110 percent of who they are,” he said. “I’m optimistic, I’m positive about where we’re going…sometimes it just overwhelms you.”