David’s Blog

Remembering Caleb

Sharing his name with the blessing of family

Caleb, a partner-in-learning of ours for many years, passed away unexpectedly yesterday. There’s a big hole in our hearts today.

Many of the humans who teach us important things come to that role without assignment or title. Caleb was one of those people. We got to know him nine or ten years ago, when he was in first grade, through the extraordinary efforts of his grandmother Mary who was bound and determined to find him the help he needed. We came to appreciate her quest for knowledge, courage and persistence as a gold standard for love and advocacy. With the added love-in-action of his grandfather Rich and his mother Jess, Caleb did not want for the loving embrace of family.

Some of that curiosity and persistence ended up as a part of Caleb’s core being. The fates dealt him a cruel hand when it came to the gifts of function many of us take for granted. He made up for much of that through his insatiable interest in his world, his persistence in getting his needs met and his quirky good nature. Through these qualities, his gift to all of us was manifest. He was hard to teach, but his connection with others and the world of things motivated us to find ways that worked.

Covid-19 has robbed us of the traditional ways we come together to mourn a loss and celebrate a life that touched others, but we’re trying. A number of us were in a virtual room yesterday to share this sad news. Looking at all the faces, I was struck by the fact that a whole generation of SD folk learned a lot about both the science and art of teaching through knowing this guy. We were touched by that magic.

Our hearts go out to Mary, Rich and Jess. We will miss this young man.


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