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'You find yourself putting the bad memories out of your mind': Biden on loss of son

"So many of you have gone through things as bad or worse than me and maybe without the incredible help I had," Joe Biden acknowledged to the audience.
Joe Biden
Former VP Joe Biden spoke to Ellen DeGeneres about the catharsis writing the book allowed him. Photo: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Joe Biden talked to Ellen DeGeneres in an emotional interview about writing the book Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose about facing the loss of his son Beau Biden.

Joe Biden on Beau Biden

Apologizing for sounding like a “typical dad,” the former vice president recalled how “remarkable” his son was. He spoke sincerely to the audience about loss saying, “I wanted to give people a reason to hope," with his upcoming book.

Lightening the mood, DeGeneres joked that former President Barack Obama also has a book coming out, but he is writing much slower than his former veep.

“Well, he is, but he is a great and gifted writer and he said, ‘Look Joe’ – I had written another book before that for a while was on the best seller list 20 some years ago and I had forgotten how much time I had put in to write the book. So, he said, ‘Pick a place to go and spend the next every day in a disciplined way.’ So, for most of May, June, and July I spent between eight and 15 hours a day writing the book and it turned out to be the way to do it because you know how the brain works, you know, you’re engaged in the willing suspension of disbelief.”

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“I was writing the book and I’d write about my boy," Biden paused, pressed the book to his lips and continued with eyes threatening to well up with tears, "and I’d say, ‘Well, this is what Beau said to me...’

“I’d say to my son [Hunter Biden], ‘Well, Beau said this to me,’ and he said, ‘Dad, he couldn’t have said “Dad,” he couldn’t speak for the last two months; he had that tube down his throat.’ And what you find yourself doing is putting the bad, the really bad, bad memories out of your mind.

"I want to think of him as this beautiful kid in the back of the book or this strong major in the United States Army or the guy introducing me at the National Convention. But it was a catharsis in the sense that I wanted to be completely honest but not maudlin.

“None of this is intended to be, you know, so many of you have gone through things as bad or worse than me and maybe without the incredible help I had. There’s so many people today —Ellen, you know it better than I. You have such empathy —that get up every morning, put one foot in front of the other one and wonder how in God’s name do they do it, but they do it.”

Promise Me, Dad is set for release on Tuesday. The full interview will air on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Monday.

Watch the video below. Joe Biden speaks candidly to Ellen DeGeneres about the loss of his son Beau Biden.

 
 
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