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Rome, Italy – Story’s Love Chiseled in Stone
June 30, 2010 @ 5:47 AM | Permalink
Rome, Italy - the city bustles with people, but there is a shady place that smells of earth, where fragrance of blossoms lingers in the air, where birds sing in the trees, where breeze rustles the leaves, and where you’ll forget in quietude of it all you’re in the heart of the bustling Eternal City. The Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome is where the expats are interred, having died far away from their home.
“The atmosphere of this place strikes people,” Ms. Thursfield, the director of the cemetery, told me. “I see people walking, just thinking, perhaps with the idea they are strangely alone in the center of the city.”
When the stress of living overseas overloads my spirit, I wander through this quiet place and along the footpath I stop to pay my respect to a great love story and to one of the most beautiful funeral monuments I have ever seen. William Story’s “Angel of Grief.”
Some of us may know of its replica that stands at the Stanford University in California dedicated to the victims of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. But not many may know the story behind the making of the sad angel.
In late 19th century, Mr. and Mrs. Story were American expatriates living in Rome. William Story was a sculptor-poet, quite famous at his time. Their marriage was one of envy, a wonderful bonding of over 50 years. But a moment came when on 7 January 1895 Mrs. Emelyn Story, age 74, passed away. William Story was stricken by grief so deep he began laboring on a monument for her. He chiseled the marble night and day. He finished it in only nine months. Then, on 7 October 1895, as if in a rush to join her, William Story slipped away from his life.
Now they rest together under his “Angel of Grief.”
An angle of stone collapsed forward over a tomb, its head resting on the right forearm, its left arm drooped over the sepulcher, its wings spread, sagging around its body. My heart moves every time I see it.
For more information about the Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome check the below website.