If ever there was an "angel on earth" it was this 13 year poet, peacemaker, and challenged little boy who lived his life more full than most people who have lived to be 90 to 100. Mattie suffered from a condition known as dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy, a genetic disease that impaired his heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and digestion and causes muscle weakness.
Mattie was often seen on talk shows including the Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live. Although his young body endured much pain and suffering, his spirit was so alive and he authored such beautiful poetry about peace known as "Heartsongs" that would raise the spirits of all who read it. Mattie's mother, Jeni also suffers the adult onset form of the disease and following Mattie's passing, he would be laid to rest with his deceased siblings that include Jamie, Katie, and Stevie, also victims of the disease.
|Mattie with President Carter|
|Mattie's funeral program|
|Mattie's prayer card|
Will Bowen, the funeral director with Robert Pumphrey Funeral Home said afterwards "the funeral service for Mattie J.T. Stepanek was the most memorable experience in my 20 years in funeral service. Mattie's funeral program (pictured) included several poems written by Mattie including his Prayer for A Journey
Thank you, God
Not just for life,
But for our journey through life.
Life is a miracle.
And a journey through life
Is so full of so many more miracles
|Mattie's resting place|
Thank you, God,
For blessing me with the
Gift of Heartsongs,
So that I can enjoy my miracles.