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Man with Down Syndrome visits his mother's grave after fulfilling her final wish

After completing his graduation, the first thing Paul told his father was that he wanted to visit his mother's grave

Man with Down Syndrome visits his mother's grave after fulfilling her final wish
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Kampus Production, KSLA News | Paul Marshall

“Mommy, I’ve got something to say. I did it. I graduated today. I know you’d be proud of me and happy, I love you so much.” These were the words of 22-year-old Paul Marshall as he visited his mother's grave to express that he had finally fulfilled her last wish. In a scene that his father captured on a mobile phone, Paul Jr. walked up to his mother’s grave to share his big day with her. Conversing with her, he mumbled this love note to her.  For most of us, graduation is the beginning of a new life. But for Paul, his graduation turned out to be even more grand; a dream that he shared with his late mother. His father, Paul Sr., recalls that the dying wish of Paul's mother was, “I just want to see Paul Jr. graduate.” Call it an inspiration or a dream, this setback turned out to be a driving force in the life of Paul Jr. So, when he finally graduated, the first thing he said was I want to go by mom’s grave and take some flowers.” And so, on their way to the graduation ceremony that day, they visited her grave, as reported by KSLA News


Paul’s mother, Latonya Marshall, lost her life to cancer in the year 2010, when Paul Jr. was just nine years old. Soon after, Paul was hospitalized for a heart valve replacement. He also faced kidney issues and had to undergo an 8-hour surgery, in which his father donated one of his kidneys to him. Yet, while speaking of all these gloomy moments, Paul Sr. smiles and says, “Paul Jr. could be hospitalized for 5 days, and on the 6th day, he’s out and laughing.” According to the Mayo Clinic, Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by abnormal cell division that triggers physical and psychological changes in an individual including lifelong intellectual disabilities and developmental delays. It also causes learning disabilities and medical abnormalities including heart and gastrointestinal disorders. 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Muhammadtaha Ibrahim
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Muhammadtaha Ibrahim

In mid-2020, Paul Jr. attended his graduation ceremony hosted inside Haughton High’s football stadium, according to KSLA News. Even though Paul Jr. was born with only one functioning kidney and a defective heart, his lust for life does not seem to have lessened. When his name was announced at the graduation event, he danced his way to receive his diploma. “I’m just happy when they called my name,” adding to this, he said that he will miss his high school and is planning to attend Bossier Parish Community College. None of the medical abnormalities has been successful in taking out the love of life from Paul Jr. His father Paul Sr. told KSLA News, “If you’re having a bad day, or going through something, Paul Jr. is the person you want to be around and talk to, that day." After he visited his mother's grave and talked about his graduation, he concluded his prayer by placing flowers on her headstone, kissing his hand, and placing his hand on the granite marker of the grave.

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