“He’s still with you. He’s still in your heart," said President Joe Biden.
JOE BIDEN: Miss Evans, I have some idea what you're feeling like. I buried two of my children. And people have come up to you and they're going to come up to you for some time and say, I know how you feel. They will say that to Sis. They're going to say that to kids. They're going to say that to his former wife. And after a while, you know everybody means well. You feel like saying, you have no idea.
But the truth is that the time is going to come, I promise you, not believable now, when a memory, a fragrance, a scene, a circumstance, the way his son tilts his head the way he did when he was at age, it's going to bring back the memory. And for the longest time, it's going to feel like, at that moment, that memory, it's going to feel like you got the phone call just that moment ago.
And there are going to be people celebrating Billy's life, and as much as you appreciate it, all of you, it also is hard. You relive everything again. And you know, I got a phone call when I first got here and lost part of my family from a person I never knew, never met, the former governor of New Jersey, who was literally 45 years my senior. And he told me he knew how I felt, and I didn't say anything.
He said, I know what you're thinking, he said, but I did know. He said I used to come home. I was the attorney general of New Jersey before I was governor, and I'd come home for lunch because I live just across the street from my office. And one day a woman who helped out of our home came running across the green saying she's gone. She's gone. His wife had had an aneurysm.
He said, you know what I did? He said, I kept a-- I got graph paper, and four months out, I would put the month on it and then a horizontal line, I'd put the date and the month. In the vertical line, I'd put the numbers 1 to 10. 10 would be the happiest day of my life, and 1 would be like the moment when I got the phone call.
And he said, and every night before I go to bed, I'd graph it. I'd put a dot on that day where I was. And he said, don't look at it for three or four months. He said, and you look at it, and you'll see-- put it on a graph, graph it-- the downs are just as far down, but they get further and further and further apart. That's when you're all going to know that you're going to make it, by holding each other together, most importantly, by holding Logan and Abigail as tightly as you can.
Because as long as you have them, you've got Billy. As long as you have them, you know, my prayer for all of you is that a day will come when you have that memory, and I said just smile before you bring a tear to your eyes. I promise you it's going to come. It just takes a while. It takes a while, but when it comes, you'll know because he's still with you. He's still in your heart.
Losing a son, daughter and brother, sister, mom, dad is like losing a piece of your soul, but it's buried deep, but it comes back. There's a great quote by RG Ingersoll. It was read when my son, who was the chief law enforcement officer in the State of Delaware, the attorney general, came back from Iraq after a year and he died. And they read this poem from RG Ingersoll who said, "When will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns compromise with death, this is heroism."
Your son, your husband, your brother, your dad was a hero. And he's part of you. It's in your blood. My prayer for you is that moment when the smile comes before the tear quicker than longer. Thank you.