First lady Jill Biden touched upon her personal philosophy about resilience in a poignant essay about her family’s first Thanksgiving without her stepson Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015.
The piece, published in Oprah Daily on Thursday, details the Biden family’s 2016 Thanksgiving trip to their getaway cottage near Nantucket Sound. At first, they felt that “Nantucket was just another place to remind us of all that we had lost, like a photograph with Beau’s face cut out,” Biden wrote, but they decided to make the trip at the behest of their grandchildren.
“Once we were all inside the house, the grandkids pulled out all of our favorite games: checkers, cards, Monopoly,” she recounted. “They easily fell back into our old routine. For Natalie and Hunt, Beau’s children, the loss of their dad will always be a part of them, but so will his love — and when there is a chance for joy, they don’t hesitate.”
Jill Biden became Beau’s stepmother in 1977, five years after his birth mother, Neilia Hunter Biden, died in a car accident along with his one-year-old sister, Naomi.
The first lady wrote that seeing the next generation carry on the traditions that Beau had been part of as a boy reminded her of an old adage her mother had once told her: “Things will always look better in the morning.”
“The world turns, and each morning brings you gifts of the life that continues: coffee with the man who’s loved you through better and beyond worse; full dinner tables with flickering candles and long conversations; grandchildren who pull you back to yourself and your family, even when it’s the last thing you think you want,” she wrote.
At some point in every person’s life, Biden concluded, loss and the feeling of being “broken and bruised” will inevitably occur — but with assistance from loved ones, those feelings will pass in time.
“We walk hand in hand through the twists and turns, and when we can’t walk, we let ourselves be carried by those we love,” Biden wrote. “These are the gifts we have to give: our strength, our vulnerability, our faith in one another. We know we cannot always heal ourselves, but we can lean on each other and lift each other up. And together, we are so much more resilient than we know.”
Read the full essay here.