Joe Biden’s daughter, Naomi Biden, and first wife, Neila Biden, died shortly after he was elected to his first political office in 1972.
Naomi “Amy” Biden was just 13 months old when a truck carrying corn cobs broadsided the family’s station wagon, killing the baby and her 30-year-old mother. Politico reported the family was buying a Christmas tree when the truck hit the station wagon. Beau Biden, who was 3 at the time, and Hunter Biden, who was 2 at the time, were also critically injured.
Joe Biden also has a granddaughter named Naomi Biden.
Joe Biden married his second wife, Dr. Jill Biden, in 1977. They had a daughter, Ashley Biden, in 1981. His family is supportive of his Presidential campaign, which he announced April 25.
Joe Biden was Vice President under President Barrack Obama from 2009 to 2017. After winning the Democratic nomination, he will square off against President Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential election. He selected Kamala Harris as his running mate on Tuesday, August 11, 2020. Before he was Vice President, he represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009. After Trump took office, Biden moved back to Delaware with his wife.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Naomi Biden Died As A Baby With Her Mom
Joe Biden had just been elected to the U.S. Senate representing Delaware when he received a phone call that changed his life.
He shared the story with a group of survivors of slain military service members, according to ABC.
“And just like you guys know by the tone of a phone call – you just knew, didn’t you?” he said. “You knew when they walked up the path. You knew when the call came. You knew. You just felt it in your bones something bad happened. And I knew. I don’t know how I knew. But the call said my wife was dead, my daughter was dead, and I wasn’t sure how my sons were going to make it.”
Politico reported Biden was interviewing candidates for job openings on his staff when he received the phone call. His family had been picking up a Christmas tree when the family station wagon was hit by a truck carrying corn cobs. The collision was so strong it sheared a tire from the station wagon, shoved the back door into the back seat and sent the station wagon 150 feet into a grove of evergreens.
Hunter “Hunt” Biden and Joseph “Beau” Biden III were also critically injured in the crash. Hunter, who was 2, suffered head injuries doctors feared would be permanent. Beau Biden suffered multiple broken bones. He was 3 years old at the time.
2. Beau Biden Survived the Crash And Died of Cancer
Beau Biden and his brother, Hunter Biden, were the only two people to survive the crash that devastated the Biden family.
Joseph “Beau” Biden III was only three years old when he suffered critical injuries in the crash that left his mother, Neila, and baby sister, Naomi, dead. Hunter Biden also suffered critical head injuries.
Beau Biden survived the crash, and as an adult he was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. He died in 2015 at age 46.
He died at Walter Reed National Miltary Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on May 30, 2015.
3. Joe Biden Often Shares His Story Publicly
Joe Biden spoke to a group of survivors of slain military service members, sharing his story about the loss of his baby daughter and young wife in 1972. The program was organized by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a non-profit advocacy group, to commemorate Memorial Day.
“For the first time in my life, I understood how someone could consciously decide to commit suicide,” he said, according to ABC. “Not because they were deranged, not because they were nuts, because they’d been to the top of the mountain and they just knew in their heart they’d never get there again, that it was … never going to be that way ever again. That’s how an awful lot of you feel.”
He said the pain feels like a “black hole you feel in your chest, like you’re being sucked back into it.” The pain never completely goes away, he said, but it “gets controllable.”
4. Joe Biden Channels His Grief to Connect With People In Mourning
Biden has used his tragic life experiences to connect with people who are grieving, from private phone calls to people who have just lost loved ones to public speaking events and books.
He shared his story in May 2012, speaking with a group of people whose loved ones were killed in the military. He told the survivors he understood why people contemplate, and even act on suicide, after the death of his wife and baby. He described the feeling like a “black hole.”
Joe Biden told the group that even in the midst of tragedy, there is healing and happiness that will come.
“Just remember two things,” Biden said, according to ABC “Keep thinking what your husband or wife would want you to do. Keep thinking what it is, and keep remembering those kids of yours, or him or her the rest of their life, blood of my blood, bone of my bone, because, folks, it can and will get better. There will come a day, I promise you, and your parents, as well, when the thought of your son or daughter or your husband or wife brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye,” . “It will happen. My prayer for you is that day will come sooner or later. But the only thing I have more experience than you in is this: I’m telling you it will come.”
5. Joe Biden Wrote About Family Deaths In His Books
Joe Biden wrote about his grief in his books.
In Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics, Biden wrote, “The first few days, I felt trapped in a constant twilight of vertigo, like in the dream where you’re suddenly falling … only I was constantly falling. I began to understand how despair led people to just cash it in; how suicide wasn’t just an option but a rational option. But I’d look at Beau and Hunter asleep and wonder what new terrors their own dreams held, and wonder who would explain to my sons my being gone, too. And I knew had no choice but to fight to stay alive.”