Tragedy has not just afflicted Joe Biden, it has shaped his political soul.
In the latest personal devastation, the Vice President must now endure the torment of burying a second child, after his beloved son Beau died from brain cancer Saturday night.
It's particularly heartrending because Beau, 46, was also a victim of an earlier incident that shattered Biden's life, a car crash at Christmas in 1972 that killed his first wife and an infant daughter and badly injured another son as well as Beau.
Stricken with grief back then, Biden contemplated vacating the Delaware Senate seat he had just won as a young rising star of the Democratic Party, but his decision to endure became the foundation on which he built his political creed and public service. In a famous photo at the time, Biden was seen being sworn into the chamber in his sons' hospital room.