He deserves all the joy he can get!
An educator who experienced unimaginable loss received a warm welcome from his students upon returning to work after a four month leave.
This time last year, Caleb Henson was just a normal person, living a pretty great life as a music teacher, even as he navigated his mom’s illness. At the top of the year, his mother underwent what he refers to as a “life altering procedure.” Being used to his mom overcoming every obstacle placed in front of her, it was hard to watch her get sick, but he persevered. By May of 2021, he had completed his master's degree with a 4.0 GPA, his mom was able to attend his graduation and her condition was improving, and he and his wife Tayler were expecting a baby and preparing for a celebratory vacation.
“May 2021 was without question the best month of the year,” Henson recalled in a Facebook post.
Sadly, the worst was yet to come and on July 27th, Henson’s mom passed away. As someone very close to his mom, he took her passing very hard, taking leave from work to grieve. Through it all, his wife remained by his side encouraging him, and he found strength in his growing family and his faith. But in September, his wife Tayler suddenly fell ill and was rushed to the hospital, forced to deliver their baby prematurely, their daughter Cari Alice being born at just 1lb 14oz. While the baby was placed in NICU and at first there was hope that his wife Tayler would get well, things quickly changed and on September 5th, she passed away.
Heartbroken, Henson did the only thing he could do, preparing himself mentally to become a single dad and focus on ensuring his baby Cari would get well. Unfortunately, that too was short lived and four days later on September 9th, Cari passed away as well, marking the loss of Henson’s mother, wife and newborn daughter all within a span of six weeks. The loss was unimaginable and enough to break anyone, but Henson persisted, determined not to let his life’s circumstances consume him.
“Sometimes I feel lost, sometimes [I] feel alone, sometimes angry, sometimes depressed, sometimes crying and even sometimes okay: but LIVING! What would have taken others out or locked up in padded walls, God has trusted me with!, Henson shared in a Facebook post on New Year's Eve 2021. "I’ve made some mistakes along the way, and will again I’m sure but me and my mother in love talked one day and we agreed: We still have a life to live. As I close this painful chapter of 2021, I’m still believing that God will give me beauty for ashes for 2022!"
Four months after tragedy struck, and a whole lot of healing later, Henson returned to the classroom, deciding to document his student’s reaction via video. He starts the video by giving some context about his recent losses, then turns the camera towards the door where each of the students walk in one by one, the video getting more and more emotional by the second.
@hensonshow My kids were happy to see me. Out of work for 4 months due to all the losses. #OscarsAtHome #teachersoftiktok #hensonshow #fypage ♬ original sound - Caleb Henson
Some of the students were stunned, some happy but in disbelief, others ran to him for an embrace, while even more yelled his name out in excitement, “Mr. Hensonnnnnn.” The video is a reminder of the joy that is always waiting to be found, even during life’s toughest moments, and a testament to the impact of educators on students. So far, Henson has been bombarded with uplifting messages and the video has been viewed more than 180,000 times.
While Henson still has his days, he continues to document his journey via social media, finding solace in testimony and the support of his family, friends and students.
“I just overheard a student telling another student about me: “I just love seeing him happy!” I have some amazing kids y’all. With all the others leaving education, I’m here to stay,” Henson wrote in a recent post.
Mr. Henson, we're sending you so much love and light. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Photo Courtesy of Caleb Henson/Facebook