My Disabled Son - ‘The Nobleman, the Philanderer, the Detective’
Robert and Trude mourned what they thought had been a lonely and isolated life for their disabled son. But when Mats died, they discovered that people all over Europe lit candles in his memory.
A version of this story was first published in Norwegian by broadcaster NRK.
“We were really very traditional. We didn’t want him turning his daily rhythm upside down.”
Sitting in a cafe by his office at Oslo City Hall, Robert Steen describes how he used to worry about his son staying up late into the night.
“In retrospect, I think we should have been more interested in the game world, where he spent so much time,” says 56-year-old Robert. “By not doing so, we robbed ourselves of an opportunity that we didn’t know we had.”
Robert delivered his funeral eulogy for Mats in late 2014, in a chapel at the Norwegian capital’s Western Cemetery.
Among those who sat listening to his words - in-between relatives and a few people from the health service who knew Mats well - was a group of people the family didn’t know.
Only Robert had met them. And only once, the evening before.
Mats had barely left the basement flat underneath his family’s home in the last years of his life, so it was strange that people unknown to the family were present at the funeral.
Even stranger - Mats himself had also never met these people
Just give it a read. It’s a beautiful story of what can be in a virtual world.