— -- Friends and aides to Vice President Joe Biden say his deep family bonds and his strong reliance on faith are helping him cope with the passing of his son, Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer last weekend.
Thursday marks the beginning of a series of memorial services for the former Delaware attorney general and will also be the first time the vice president has been seen in public since his son’s death.
“The vice president is a deeply religious person,” Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to the vice president, told ABC News. “His faith is always important to him at times of trouble.”
Biden, a devout Catholic, is no stranger to tragedy.
In December of 1972, shortly after being elected to the Senate for the first time, Biden’s wife and daughter were killed in a car accident that also injured Beau and his brother Hunter, who were just 3 and 2 years old respectively at the time of the wreck. Biden was sworn into the Senate at young Beau’s hospital bedside.
Longtime friend and aide Ted Kaufman adds the vice president’s close connection to his family and his “incredible innate character” to the list of attributes that will carry him through this difficult time.
“It’s an extraordinary family," Kaufman told ABC News. "They’ve been through a lot. They are incredibly loyal. They care about each other.”
“If you’ve looked at his life, he has demonstrated an incredible amount of character – starting from the moment he started to stutter to the tragedies in his life to the aneurysms, losing his wife and daughter,” Kaufman said. “He has an innate character that is really quite extraordinary.”
Just weeks ago, the vice president spoke about the special bond he shares with his children, which he attributed to the tragedy they’d previously faced together.
“The incredible bond I have with my children is the gift I’m not sure I would have had, had I not been through what I went through,” Biden said in May.
Beau Biden served two terms as Delaware’s attorney general and had planned to run for governor in 2016.
His body will lie in honor at Delaware’s Legislative Hall in Dover today. There will be a private viewing tomorrow, and on Saturday, President Obama will deliver a eulogy for Biden at a funeral mass.
Biden was 46 years old. He is survived by his wife Hallie and two children.