Farewell to a model surrogate son

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

While I know this walk through life is temporary, I still find it hard to get over or understand the early demise of someone I love. This loss is only magnified when the individual was a genuinely nice and exemplary individual who manifested all the true qualities that brought out the best life has to offer—an individual that legitimized true unadulterated goodness and decency, and an individual that anyone would have considered an honor and privilege to know or have as a friend. I find such a void and loss in the passing of one of my honorary sons whom I love as much as one of my own biological sons.

The untimely death of Caleb Dane Cowans Sanders isn’t something I understand, but I guess I’ll have to accept because my faith teaches me God’s will is not always for everyone to understand. It only makes it harder when the person seemed to have done everything right as a son, brother, or friend—a person with so much potential to make the world a much better place, and a person with a caring and humanitarian heart, willing to walk the talk.

As heavy as my heart is, I can only pray for his devoted, dedicated parents Kenneth and Mary Sanders; his brother, Kirby, and other close family members. I pray that God’s mercy and grace provide his family with the strength and peace to endure this monumental loss. Caleb was part of my church family, comparable in age to my oldest son Steven and his younger brother, Kirby—the same age as my youngest son, Matthew. Caleb was an extension of my family, a positive, caring, and friendly soul.
Caleb and his family have always worked diligently in the church, especially in youth ministries. Caleb was blessed with a family strong in faith, relentlessly offering unselfish service to others. Knowing Caleb from informal activities and church trips with his peers only highlighted his unique ability to be a role model and leader. He was a son any parent would be proud of especially in his tenacity and commitment to reach his goals. He attended Meigs Academic Magnet School and Hume Fogg Academic Magnet School, graduating in 2006. While in school he excelled as a wrestler and football player. It was stated in his obituary that a love of his as well as a family tradition was to serve in the military for his country and with much hard work, he was accepted into the Navy Academy. He became ‘company commander’ in charge of 127 fellow midshipmen of the 20th Company. Caleb graduated from the Academy in May 27, 20ll with the rank of Ensign. He was assigned as ‘A Surface Warfare Officer’ working in the fight against piracy, drug smuggling and other crimes at sea.

Unfortunately, after experiencing severe headaches, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. He   maintained a positive and optimistic disposition and continued to perform his military duties being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade before his untimely demise. What accomplishments he made in such a short span of 24 years! Caleb’s short life has left an indelible spot in my heart and those he met. His memory will live through those who saw him as the best that life had to offer. While I don’t understand the extinguishing of such a young light, I painfully accept what must be God’s will.

Thus I find I must thank God for the honor and privilege of knowing and associating with such a special and extraordinary human being during my life. The world is a better place because Caleb Dane Cowan’s Sanders was here and his memory will live on through those who knew and loved him. Caleb left a legacy during his short life span that many are unable to achieve in two or three lifetimes. He taught me how to live with promise and faith and how to die with dignity. May he rest in peace.