“Dads cry in the dark” (paraphrasing Michael Baisden) – I’ve liked and respected Joe Biden a long time. Why? Because he’s been through some shit – that’s the only way to say it. (Click here for his speech.) So when his son Beau died from brain cancer at age 46, I cried.
I have an idea of the pain – though mine doesn’t approximates the vice president’s. I remember when my daughter Chip was stillborn, and the thoughts racing through my mind as I examined her body in the hospital room. For what seemed hours, my eyes scanned her from head to toe with a pause to look at a wisp of hair here, a tiny fingernail there.
There’s an overwhelming experience of helplessness that a parent feels in the face of the death of a child that I can’t describe. Joe Biden has had the unnaturally horrendous experience of burying two children in his lifetime.
And I understand completely when he says, “by focusing on my sons, I found my redemption” – much like Lisa and I focused on raising Chayla, then 3, and found comfort in the effort.
So as our family celebrated the accomplishments of Charles III (“Wig”) this week – fifth-grade graduation with many honors, being named the most outstanding chorister and student conductor of his 90-voice elementary school chorus, an All-State vocalist – I’m reminded of how we dads “cry in the dark” during school plays, recitals, and concerts as we watch our kids live their dreams.
All we want is for them to be more successful, in their own individual ways, than we are or will be. I’m grateful to be able to see my two grow up thus far.
This week, I grieve with Joe Biden; with the family of James “Uncle Coot” Spencer, a hardworking, responsible father; and with Tangela Sears of Miami, who lost her son (also a father) to senseless violence…
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