'Mommy Sent Jill To Us:' How Dr. Jill Biden Helped Heal A Family's Broken Heart

In January 2021, the country will welcome back President-Elect Joe Biden into the White House, along with his wife and now first lady, Dr. Jill Biden.

While we have four years ahead of us to admire this quietly compelling power couple, it's certainly worth taking a moment to appreciate their 43-year marriage, and the heart ache, grief, and unimaginable loss that helped bring two people together, and heal a broken family.

When Joe first met his future wife (then a young divorcée named Jill Jacobs), she was a senior at the University of Delaware and he was still mourning the loss of his first wife, Neilia, and their infant daughter, Naomi.

Three years earlier, in 1972, Neilia had been driving the couple's three young children to go do some last-minute Christmas shopping when her station wagon was struck by a tractor-trailer.

Neilia and 13-month-old Naomi were killed in the crash, while sons Hunter and Beau survived, albeit with a fractured skull and broken leg, respectively.

At the time of the unthinkable tragedy, Joe was only days away from starting his first term as senator of Delaware.

“Six weeks after my election, my whole world was altered forever," he said, as per Vogue, adding that he would spend months in the hospital while his sons healed, and was even sworn in at their bedsides.

“The incredible bond I have with my children is the gift I’m not sure I would have had, had I not been through what I went through," he continued. "But by focusing on my sons, I found my redemption.”

In 1975, Joe's brother introduced him to Jill, who was nine years his junior, by passing along her phone number — without her knowledge.

'"How did you get this number?' Those were the first words I spoke to Joe when he called me out of the blue on a Saturday in 1975," she wrote on Instagram.

On their first date, she remarked to Vogue that he struck her as being noticeably different from any other man she'd dated before:

"I was a senior, and I had been dating guys in jeans and clogs and T-shirts, he came to the door and he had a sport coat and loafers, and I thought, ‘God, this is never going to work, not in a million years.’"

But by the end of the night, after Joe took Jill to a viewing of the movie *A Man and a Woman*, the future first lady would be left with quite a different impression of her date.

"When we came home...he shook my hand good night," she recalled. "I went upstairs and called my mother at 1:00 a.m. and said, ‘Mom, I finally met a gentleman.’"

In his memoir, Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics, Joe wrote that while he knew he was falling in love with her, he waited to introduce Jill to Hunter and Beau, who had still only just recently lost their own mother.

When he finally did allow Jill to meet his sons, Joe said, they hit it off right away.

In her speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Jill remarked that at just 26 years old she found herself in a relationship that kept her wondering, "How do you make a broken family whole?"

"Still, Joe always told the boys, 'Mommy sent Jill to us,'" she continued, "and how could I argue with her?"

The pair were married on June 17, 1977, after Joe proposed not once, not twice, but *five* times to Jill, who admitted she was reluctant to accept, for the boys' sake.

“I said, ‘Not yet. Not yet. Not yet.’ Because by that time, of course, I had fallen in love with the boys, and I really felt that this marriage had to work," she told Vogue. "Because they had lost their mom, and I couldn’t have them lose another mother. So I had to be 100 percent sure.”

The feeling of love was certainly mutual, as Joe recalled his sons approaching him one morning to say, "Dad, we think it's time we married Jill."

Four years after they were married, Jill and Joe had their daughter, Ashley Blazer Biden — the final piece necessary to call their family whole.

"She gave me back my life," Biden wrote of Jill in his memoir. "She made me start to think my family might be whole again."

In a Mother's Day post on Instagram, Jill wrote, "I’ve had many titles over the years, but my forever favorite is 'Mom'. Beau and Hunt—the boys who made me their mother. And Ashley—the daughter who completed our family."

Over the last 43 years, the couple has grown together, learned together, and remained by each other's side through their own trials and triumphs.

They've welcomed five grandchildren, lost two presidential campaigns, entered the White House as vice president and second lady, and will now be returning once again, this time as the POTUS and first lady.

They've also experienced the indescribable heartbreak of losing a child when they tragically lost son Beau to brain cancer in 2015 at the age of 46.

Jill has said that through her relationship with Joe, who lost his first wife at 30, and his sons, who lost their mother so suddenly and tragically, she's learned that "love is what holds a family together."

"Love makes us flexible and resilient," she said in her convention address. "It allows us to become more than ourselves — together. And though it can’t protect us from the sorrows of life, it gives us refuge — a home."

h/t: Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Washington Post