In case you missed it, here is what Cary and Ellen said at Caleb's Memorial Service.
Before Cary spoke, Ken (Heather's husband) read Caleb's favorite book, God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren.
When our son was born we needed a name with strength. I was in the process of reading the Bible for the first time end to end and remembered the name "Ca-lob." I called one of my close friends and asked him to read about "Ca-lob" in the book of Numbers and meet me for dinner later. I mentioned the name to Elizabeth, but I don’t think she liked my pronunciation of the name "Ca-lob." She needed to think about it.
I left to go meet Tom at the I-Hop for food and some inspiration a little after midnight, and he told me "Ca-lob" would be the perfect name for a fighter. Perfect! When I returned to the hospital, the second I walked into the room Elizabeth said “I love the name Caleb.” After I pronounced the name correctly, Elizabeth agreed Caleb was the perfect name for our little man.
Respiratory distress syndrome
Countless blood transfusions
Water on the brain
Severe acid reflux
Severe oral aversion
Metabolic bone disease
Caleb Robert Locke over came all of these complications. He was a pure Fighter.
6 ½ months in the NICU. Caleb gave all of us 195 days of courage, fight, strength, and a determination to live that inspired every one from a 5th grade class in an elementary school across the country to his mom at his crib side daily.
Every baby in the NICU would chart their own path, but Caleb wanted to explore every thing the NICU had to offer. Caleb Locke never lived by numbers. When 90 percent of the babies with a complication would go one direction, and 10 percent would veer in another. Caleb would confuse his NICU doctors and challenge them with some thing completely new around every corner.
The voice of the minority is not often given a hearing.
Truth cannot be measured by numbers.
On the contrary, it often stands against majority opinion.
Caleb Locke gave it everything he had to fight the numbers.
One of my best friends pointed out in this past week, “you know what you’re made of.” If any member of our family has ever wondered what we, our souls and spirit were made of, Caleb showed us a bright example each and every day. He thought me, and gave us a glimpse for 195 days what we can accomplish and how far we can reach.
Caleb also reminded us that while you fight for the things you want don’t forget to rest, be respectful of others around you, and most important to make time for a smile. Caleb showed this in the purest form. By doing this we feel he has impacted more lives in his 195 days then Elizabeth and I have in our combined 59 years of life.
I want to tell you how it felt to hold Caleb. I could feel his body completely relax and his stress melt away. His therapy for our souls, and a time for complete rest and recuperation for the battles he would win. Elizabeth would hold him after work, and I would hold him in the late night to early morning hours.
We thank God for the chance to meet such a great soul and the time we had with Caleb. We will cherish every smile, every coo, every dirty diaper, and every phone call we received waking us up at all hours of the night.
We were ready for what ever destination God sent us to, we were inspired every step of the way and never had any doubt in our mind of the love Caleb had for us from the inspiration he filled our souls with.
Let me finish by reading a poem:
Welcome To Holland
By Emily Perl Kingsley
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes on and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.
Two weeks ago, we celebrated Easter. We wore our new clothes, ate our chocolate bunnies and hunted Easter eggs.
Two weeks later, we gather here with heavy hearts, with strained hope, with tested faith to honor the life of Caleb Locke. This is not the ceremony we expected or desired to celebrate yet it is our reality today.
Two weeks ago, we celebrated Easter. Today, possibly Easter has a different meaning for us. For the reality of Easter is never more poignant than when we face death.
We know the story. Jesus was crucified. He died and was buried in a tomb. Jesus’ followers thought there was no hope. They thought that death was the end. They scattered and for three days they mourned. Then on Sunday morning, the women found the stone rolled away from the tomb. The angels appeared asking, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
I pose that question to us today. Why do we seek the living among the dead? For Caleb Locke is not dead but lives forevermore. Yes, his precious little body is dead but this is not the end for Caleb. It is the beginning of his life with Jesus.
Would we rather have him here with us? Of course. But this is our reality today. So we mourn; yet we mourn with a unique hope--the hope of Jesus Christ. In Titus 1 the Apostle Paul describes a, “faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time…”
Because of Christ’ resurrection on Easter morning, we have the promise of resurrection for Caleb and ourselves. You see, this frail body, may be dead for now, but one day it will be raised again to eternal life.
1 Corinthians attempts to explain the wonder of resurrection. “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”
Caleb’s future resurrection is a mystery; as Easter people we choose to believe the mystery—the mystery of salvation and resurrection.
What is not a mystery is the steadfast love of Caleb’s parents. They waited and hoped and prayed for him. They stayed up long nights worried about him. They drove hundreds of miles to be with him at the hospital. They loved him before he was born. They searched for just the right name that would describe their hopes and dreams for him.
Many of you know how Cary and Elizabeth chose Caleb’s name. For those of you who don’t know, I would like to share this story with you. It tells of a great warrior who was brave, strong, and Godly. These were the traits Cary and Elizabeth wished for their son.
Way back in the Old Testament there is a story about how God freed the Israelites from captivity in Egypt and gave them their own homeland. When Moses and the Israelites reached the Promised Land, Moses sent out scouts to do reconnaissance on the new land. When the scouts returned back to the camp they gave this report as recorded in the Book of Numbers. “They gave Moses this account: ‘We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful and the cities are fortified and very large. We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are. All the people we saw there are of great size. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them. Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." Well, the Israelites continued to grumble and were at the point of mutiny but Caleb and Joshua stood firm and put down the uprising.
Then they spoke to the entire Israelite assembly, "The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them."
In this account, Caleb does not falter or give up. Caleb and Joshua are the reason that the Israelites reached the Promised Land.
Our little Caleb was a fighter. Born just shy of 27 weeks gestation he was a miracle child from birth. He fought hard to live. He survived many medical procedures.
Our little Caleb was a leader too. For he had helped Elizabeth and Cary reach their promised land. Caleb’s short life strengthened and grew their faith. His short life showed them the amazing power of a parent’s love for his or her child.
We find ourselves much in the same place as the Israelites. We are stuck in this strange land of grief, sadness, and mourning. The shock and pain seem overwhelming and we are sure that we can not stand up against it. We seem like grasshoppers compared to the great sadness we feel. We are scared and may even feel hopeless. But remember Caleb’s words from the story.
He said, “Do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them."
Today, I say, “Do not be afraid of the grief of this strange land because Jesus has swallowed death up. Death’s protection is gone and the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid.”
Two weeks ago, we celebrated Easter. Let us go now as Easter people with the hope and promise of eternal life.