A grieving father has created a remarkable and heartfelt headstone for his son who sadly passed away this year at the age of 26. The sculpture, crafted from bronze, is in the shape of a wheelchair; an everlasting reminder that honors the life and hardships endured by his beloved child.
Mark Brnovich of Phoenix, Arizona offered his story to NPR, revealing how he and his son had both been named Mark. His boy was born with a rare genetic disorder that prevented him from developing a hip joint; thus requiring the use of a wheelchair for mobility. Despite this physical challenge, young Mark refused to be held back – he was an enthusiastic gamer who cherished spending time with friends.
When Mark, unexpectedly passed away last year, his father wanted to create something special in honor of him. Austin Weishel was chosen for this task – he had previously crafted a firefighter sculpture as part of the 9/11 memorial. After listening intently to the story and essence that embodied Mark’s life, it took Weishel months to design an awe-inspiring sculpture that encapsulated his spirit.
The resulting sculpture, about the size of a real wheelchair and crafted from bronze, is detailed with exquisite accuracies – such as its cushiony seat and spinning wheels. Weishel incorporated personalized touches to reflect Mark’s passion for gaming; there rests a PlayStation controller atop the chair. A granite headstone bearing his name alongside his birth and death dates completes this tribute.
Brnovich mentioned to NPR that the sculpture has been a key tool in helping him process his profound sorrow. “It’s almost like a living thing,” he stated. “It’s a tribute to my son, but it’s also a tribute to all the people who struggle with disabilities.”
Brnovich’s sculpture has moved individuals from all over the globe who have faced similar losses. Through this work of art, he hopes to motivate others to create poignant reminders for their cherished ones.
Weishel, the captivating sculptor behind the artwork, disclosed to NPR that he was humbled to craft something that would provide solace for Brnovich and all those who have felt bereavement. “It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to create something that has meaning and purpose,” he stated.
The wheelchair sculpture headstone stands as a beacon of the potency of art to offer solace and celebrate. It reminds us that, even in death, it is possible to commemorate those we have loved and lost.