Goodbye Mr. Raven

Last Tuesday we received an unexpected email from the board of our homeschool co-op with some very sad news.  Our beloved science teacher, Mr. Brian Raven, had passed away suddenly at his home.

We saw him just last Monday.  He said he had not slept at all the night before.  He felt unable to teach and was going to take a nap in his truck.  I saw him heading out to the truck. He was in the wheel chair he had recently started using.  He died the next day.

For years, Mr. Raven has been a fixture in science education for every age and grade in this area.  His absence leaves a huge void in homeschool education as he taught in multiple homeschool co-ops.  He was such a blessing and a wealth of knowledge.  The kids loved him.  He was everybody's favorite teacher. 

More about him and the classes he taught here

As a parent, I appreciated Mr. Raven because he brought an enthusiasm and depth of knowledge to science that I could not. I love science, but it is not my life work.  So it was wonderful to have that time with him.  We came across Mr. Raven not long after the death of our baby girl, Hazel, in 2014.  I was so grateful for his jolly, good natured ways.  He was able to put smiles on my kids' faces when I could not. He could lighten a burden with his wit and jest.  He kept the kids laughing and learning at all times.

One of the unique things about Mr. Raven's teaching is that he gave each of his students a nickname.  My son was nicknamed Finch.  Everyone at co-op calls him Finch.  My daughter was nick named Jaguar.  They love their nicknames.

Today we attended a memorial at the beach side to remember his years of teaching and the impact he had on his students' lives.  It was heart warming to see the loving and joyful memories these students have carried with them over the years.  Many of the students are in college now, studying science, or even older and have jobs in scientific fields.

It was a beautiful day at the beach.  This is my view of the gathering from a distance where I had to sit in the shade for a moment to nurse the baby

The students had a chance to speak to the group about how they got their nick name from Mr. Raven and what their favorite memories of him were.

This is our daughter, "Jaguar", sharing her story and her memories.  So proud of her for getting up to share.

This is a sweet note my little "Finch" wrote to Mr. Raven.  I hope Mr. Raven's mother will enjoy reading it.  Many students wrote notes and letters to his family telling of their love for Mr. Raven and his influence.

Sometimes, you don't value the people in your life until they are gone.  I think I took Mr. Raven for granted.  And sometimes I was even annoyed that he occasionally cancelled a class I had paid for because he was unwell.  I would pay a whole lot more now to have him back again, teaching science and igniting a love of learning in my kids

Having experienced death on a much more personal level recently, I find that my attitude towards the loss of a friend is quite different than it might otherwise be.  I am happy for Brian's release.  He's out of pain, he's at peace.  He is well.  And won't it be so fun to see him again?  And wow, think of all the things HE is learning now. The teacher must become a student for a time and learn things he never dreamed of.  The scientist in him must be LOVING  it!

I recently bought a plaque that now hangs over my baby's changing table.  It reminds me that the little hole in my heart that only Hazel can fill will not be there forever.  Here's what it says

"Good byes are not forever.  Good byes are not the end. It simply means I'll miss you until we meet again."

Until we meet again Mr. Raven.

Mr Raven's YouTUbe Channel