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Noted in Passing: Per aspera ad astra

A father designed this headstone for his wheelchair-bound son depicting him free of his earthly burdens. Matthew Stanford Robison Memorial in Salt Lake City, Utah; USA. Matthew was born blind and partially paralyzed, and died at the age of 11.

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  • Dirk August 8, 2022, 2:37 PM

    Absolutely Awesome.

    His little boy is free from his earthly bonds!. I’m crying!

  • jd August 8, 2022, 5:14 PM

    Made me cry the minute I saw it. No explanation needed.

  • Steve Curry August 8, 2022, 5:22 PM

    Extremely moving. Reminds me of the tomb of Maria Magdalena Langhangs who died in childbirth on the day before Easter, 1751. For example: https://twitter.com/thanatosarchive/status/1200554821243158529

  • Jack Lawson August 8, 2022, 6:59 PM

    Tears at my heart.

  • Terry August 8, 2022, 7:22 PM

    My Heart melts when I see pictures such as this. The real people who love this nation are of the fabric of the boy’s father.

    That picture is a masterpiece of love.

    God Bless our nation.

  • ThisIsNotNutella August 8, 2022, 7:45 PM

    Mormonism may not have much to offer to lovers of good English prose, but there’s more to life and love and death than Good English Prose — which may, after all, be of the Devil.

  • PA Cat August 8, 2022, 8:02 PM

    I’ve long associated the Latin phrase with one of the two memorial plaques at Cape Canaveral to Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Edward White II, killed in the Apollo 1 space capsule fire in 1967. The two plaques are attached to the launch platform left standing at Launch Complex 34:

    The other: Dedicated to the living memory of the crew of the Apollo 1:
    U.S.A.F. Lt. Colonel Virgil I. Grissom
    U.S.A.F. Lt. Colonel Edward H. White, II
    U.S.N. Lt. Commander Roger B. Chaffee
    They gave their lives in service to their country in the ongoing exploration of humankind’s final frontier. Remember them not for how they died but for those ideals for which they lived.

    Photos of the plaques here: https://military-history.fandom.com/wiki/Cape_Canaveral_Air_Force_Station_Launch_Complex_34

  • Lynne August 8, 2022, 8:39 PM

    This is so pure and so utterly beautiful.
    I can’t stop crying.

  • ghostsniper August 9, 2022, 4:41 AM

    The epitaph on the back of the monument reads:

    In memory of those who walk more closely in the hands of God and who more humbly lift up the world, inspiring the hearts of people with their heritage full of love, they return home to God again to behold His face and be forever healed in joy.

    • Joe Krill August 9, 2022, 7:44 AM

      Ghostsniper, thank you.

    • Dirk August 9, 2022, 8:11 AM

      Dammit, I’m crying again.

      Thanks Ghost!

      My emotions are all over the place these past few days.

  • Jack August 9, 2022, 6:37 AM

    Wow, that took my breath and it is totally unforgettable.

  • azlibertarian August 9, 2022, 10:04 AM

    We’ve been doing some grieving at our house lately. My 44 year-old nephew passed away last week. In today’s nomenclature, they classified him as “autistic”, but back in my day, I would have called him “retarded”. Functionally, he was about 3 years old.

    He had a bucket-full of problems, both physical and behavioral. He had multiple personalities, and while in some of them could get angry, very angry. He was a big guy, and his parents (wifeofazlib’s sister and her husband) and sisters–Saints, each of them–sometimes had trouble controlling him. He was on a cocktail of meds which were killing his liver. About 8 years ago, his doctors, in perhaps an effort to “Do no Harm”, tried to wean him off of those meds, and it was a nightmare. His behavior descended into that of a wild animal. The family were finally able to convince the doc’s that he needed the quality of his life that his med’s gave him more than whatever longevity he might gain by weaning off the drugs.

    I’ll always remember what a kind kid he was. Whenever we met, he’d ask “[azlib], how’s your flying?”, and then he’d ask about each of my kids. And that was it….like any 3 year old, he’d be out of “adult” conversation, and he’d go back to watching cartoons or coloring or whatever.

    It’s early still, but my sister-in-law is having a hard time with this loss. No one ever wants to lose a child, but this was a kid who she had fed, shaved, wiped his ass, and all the other daily tasks you’d give to a 3 year-old, but she’d done it for 44 years. My brother-in-law, spent his last weeks simply crying. As I said, they’re saints, and I hope that God will give them His blessings.

    They’ve had him cremated, and aren’t going to bury his ashes or memorialize him in any way. Instead, they’re going to scatter his ashes over the grave of his grandparents, and I think that that’s perfect. Somewhere, they’re all together again, and their troubles have been relieved.

    • Vanderleun August 9, 2022, 10:07 AM

      God bless him and keep him and all your family. Amen.

      • azlibertarian August 9, 2022, 10:21 AM

        Thank you, my friend.

        The lesson for me here…and one that I hope that I can remember…is that we often see those video clips of the drug- and behavioral-addled in their tent cities or street corners. It is easy, very easy, to think “Why don’t those losers get their lives together and become even minimally productive?” For some, that is a valid question. We tolerate far too much of this.

        But for some in that cohort, their mental illness is real, and they need all the help and kindness that we can give them. Where is the boundary between the two groups? I don’t know myself, but I’m going to try to go forward with the understanding that there are very few simple answers here, and that how the rest of us look at those with mental problems is as much of a look at the problems as it is a refection on ourselves.

        • Dirk August 9, 2022, 2:12 PM

          Prays out, sorry for your loss of your nephew. Sound like he tried to make the best of it, his parents sound saint like.

      • PA Cat August 9, 2022, 1:30 PM

        What Gerard just said.

    • ghostsniper August 9, 2022, 11:08 AM

      azlibertarian sed: “…but she’d done it for 44 years”.
      That, right there, is more gargantuan than most can imagine.

  • Paddy August 9, 2022, 3:02 PM

    I wanted to get this image etched on my son’s headstone.

    He was abandoned at birth and his legal name when we took him home was 34 ABMC Mercy San Juan, meaning “34th Abandoned Male Child born at Mercy San Juan Hospital” in Sacramento. Well, that just wouldn’t do. I was so happy a year later on the day I gave him his own name, followed by mine.

    He was legally deaf and blind, epileptic, and had CP and serious brain damage from a stroke he had in utero due his birth mother’s heavy drug use. I think she was trying to abort him. There was a host of other problems and every month it seemed was a new one.

    They said he would never do anything but lay there on the bed in a persistent vegetative state. But we loved him and talked to him sang to him and cuddled him and nibbled on his ears kissed him and took him to the ocean, to Yellowstone, and everywhere else we went. And it brought him to life. One of the last pictures I have of him is him laying in my wife’s lap, Sam hooking his arm around her neck, craning his own upward, pulling himself upward toward her face, pursing his lips, trying to give her a kiss like the many thousands we gave him. He was the most precious thing I’ve ever seen, and loved him with a crazy love, a deep, deep ocean of love. His favorite place in the world was right in my lap. He’d lay there for hours and pull at my nose, flick my ear, tug on my lips, arms and hair. It was better than Disneyland. For both of us. He loved the wind in his face and hated haircuts, which I did myself. Oh, that curly dark brown silky hair.

    Don’t listen to the “professionals”. They don’t factor in the Power of Love.

    He died on a Friday afternoon, February 20th, 2015, after 11 days in a San Francisco hospital from RSV, Adenovirus, and respiratory failure. They truly did their best, but it was his time. Too soon…far too soon for me and my wife, but not too soon for him.

    My wife had left that morning to make a quick trip home to resupply and get as good a night’s rest as she could. Hardest call I ever had to make was to tell her she needed to get back down there, but that she didn’t have to rush.

    After that call, I crawled up in the bed and wept and held him tight for three hours to keep him warm til she got back. It was a strange thing to do maybe, but I didn’t want her last caress of him to be with him cold.

    We named him Samuel Eli, Samuel the prophet having been surrendered himself.

    He’s now free from that body that didn’t quite work right. His joy now is immeasurable, and I rejoice with him. But oh, oh my God how it hurts to bury a child. It is a savage, soul crushing agony, the likes of which I was not sure I would survive.

    It still hurts. Even this moment.

    And ne’er a more beautiful child have I ever laid eyes on than Samuel Eli. Forever four years old. Missed for now. Forever in our hearts. My sweet boy.

    The longer story is linked below if you’d like to read it.