I have a confession. Since last year, I’ve been glued to a song on YouTube, a song titled ’Til Kingdom Come by Coldplay – but featuring just the lead singer, Chris Martin, and his guitar.
I’ve watched this video 50 times – and more. I’m moved by it still.
Among the words are: “Hold my head inside your hands, I need someone who understands. I need someone, someone who hears, for you I’ve waited all these years.”
The occasion, on June 6, a year ago, was the funeral of Beau Biden, son of the US Vice-President, Joe. Martin sang with such beauty, a man could cry.
Beau was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013. After aggressive treatment he was given the all-clear, but the cancer returned and took him this time, aged 46.
It was Biden Senior’s second tragedy – his wife and daughter died in a car crash in 1973.
Biden said in a statement: “More than his professional accomplishments, Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother.”
He described his son as “quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known”. He had fought his illness “with the same integrity, courage and strength he had demonstrated every day of his life”.
Every death is sad. But I was struck by a deeper narrative.
This is actually a story about beautiful fatherhood. For it seems, you see, Beau learned his values from one of the best, his own father.
“If I’m half as good a dad to my two kids as my dad’s been to me and my brother, my kids will be in good shape.
“I’ve got a dad who, I think, is one of the finest vice presidents our country’s seen, but he’s even a better father,” Beau Biden once said.
The Huffington Post wrote: “Joe Biden was known for his dedication to his family. As a young senator, he chose not to relocate to Washington and instead commuted two hours by train every day to raise his children.
“He was never out of communication with them.”
“The rule in the office was if the boys called, he was to be interrupted – no matter what he was doing or who he was talking to,” his chief of staff said.
The US vice-president was a single parent and yet managed to serve as an exemplary father to his sons.
Even in death, the power of their father-son relationship shone through.
Every single day is a chance to build, rebuild, strengthen, or even start again – this profoundly important, magical relationship.
* Search on YouTube: Chris Martin – Til’ Kingdom Come (Beau Biden’s funeral)