Immediately after Caemon died, a community of bloggers crowdfunded for a permanent plaque which was affixed to a bench at the Oakland Children’s Zoo, directly across from the American Alligator (crocodilian order) exhibit.
We have visited this bench, held children in our laps while sitting on it, and yes, we have cried here too. It is a hard thing to see; for some reason, seeing something in writing makes it so much more real, and seeing our son’s name indelibly etched onto a memorial plate makes me wince to this day. But this bench, my son’s very own bench, is special too.
Caemon was not buried, so there is no gravesite to visit, but here we have a physical place we can go to feel close to him, and so too does anyone else who wishes to visit. Our friends have taken their children to this special spot and talked to them about Caemon. We love seeing pictures of kids crawling all over his bench and gazing in wonder at the fierce animal after which this boy was named.
It’s a gift we cherish immeasurably and are humbled and grateful to the community that made it happen. This part of Caemon’s legacy will leave its mark on anyone who sits for a moment under the cooling shade of the overhead tree and reads these words: Caemon was a beloved child: a chef, a nurse, a musician, a dancer; he was a wise soul, a teacher, and a healer of hearts.