One dark morning some 18 years ago, I awakened to find my late wife lying dead across our bed, four weeks after her cancer had been diagnosed. It was a sudden, devastating loss for me, a trauma that shattered my world and from which I have never completely recovered. Its terrible legacy is a dread that pervades my existence--a terror of losing another loved one (my current wife, a child) from which I am never free.
Joe Biden is an example of what I have called a "sibling in the same darkness." His world, too, was shattered by traumatic loss--the tragic deaths of his wife and child in a car accident when he was just beginning as a newly elected senator.
Biden has been harshly criticized and publicly shamed in the media for his strong reaction to the danger of a swine flu pandemic. He is an emotional man, and it is inconceivable to me that his existence, too, would not be dominated by a dread of further losses and tragedies. And so, media, when he has an especially intense emotional reaction to the threat of a catastrophic, lethal pandemic, please give him a little slack. He is a man who knows first-hand the traumas inflicted by sudden deaths and losses.