In Memoriam, our beloved Caetano Key
Thank you to the over 2500+ people that have visited this memorial page, and the many 100s of you that have sent us texts, emails, flowers, food, cards, and hugs and thoughts in many other forms. We have not planned any future memorials/gatherings. We intend to schedule a San Francisco bay area gathering of some sort so we can be with our friends and family in California, after the coronavirus-pocalypse has ebbed. . Thank you — Cristina, Carlos, Forest
Our beloved son Caetano passed away the morning of Feb 29th – leap year day, of 2020. It was a brutal shock to his family and friends. None of us were ready to say goodbye and had plans for many more decades of him in our lives. He will be in our hearts, always.
Caetano will be remembered as the funniest, cutest, silliest, most stylish guy in the room, with a philosopher’s mind and an artist’s soul. He saw life from a perspective not shared by many–he always surmised the heart of a situation while others will still observing the surface. His thoughts traveled fast and we worked hard to keep up with him, knowing that his curiosity would outpace our caution constantly. He learned to perform early on, donning costumes and playing a part from kindergarten onward. He took his skills to the stage first in elementary school, trying out improvised magic/comedy and stand-up in the talent shows. Performances included camps at Greenlake Bathhouse Theater and school plays at Billings and Roosevelt High. His brother Carlos featured him in several short films that went on to win awards. In a Roosevelt playwriting class, he developed a short piece performed by students about the feeling of isolation caused by anxiety and paranoia. He loved cosplay crossdressing and started drifting his attention to fashion. He also enjoyed photography and music, composing a little for fun.
Caetano spent a winter camping in wilderness in Bend, Oregon in 2018-19 for about three months, as part of a rehabilitation for troubled teens. It kickstarted a year of tremendous growth for the whole family, but especially his parents, who started to examine the origins of their emotional dynamics and learned a lot about communicating, which starts with listening. We will always be indebted to Caetano for opening our minds and our hearts and for helping us start to learn. After Caetano’s time outdoors, which he ultimately loved because of its challenges, he went to a therapeutic boarding school. We were so relieved to get him out and back in our lives just as summer was about to begin last year.
Life with Caetano has been a whirlwind. We laugh, we yell, we cry, we share dream interpretations, we laugh. The kid seriously loves video games–he is so good at them. These last few months he attended Nova High School, an alternative school full of interesting creative kids. As his boyfriend Elliot said, he loves Nova, but not the actual school part. Caetano was just too free. He cherished freedom and autonomy. But not more than love. The guy loved love. He told some of us that the meaning of life was to make people happy, and that love was the most important thing. Mission accomplished, Caetano.
Caetano was a victim of the national opioid crisis that has afflicted our country. Street purchased pills that turned out to be a lethal dose of fentanyl, led to his untimely death. Thank you, big pharma (not)! He was at home with people that loved him, and whom he loved dearly. A very tragic end to his life may be a gift to other lives, as he will be an able organ donor to others in need. It gives our family great solace that others might be helped by his body. His spirit is now one with the universe.
Caetano was born a 4th generation San Franciscan after his father, his grandfather, and his great grandfather. He was named after Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso which fits with his Latin X heritage. His Gomez and Marquez family hail from Mexico; the Keys from Jewish tribes in eastern europe, the Calbreaths from Scotland, and Rodriguez from the Azores in Portugal. He is survived by immediate family brother Carlos, parents Cristina and Forest; grandparents Esther, Jane, Dennis, and Kay; uncles/aunts Jaime, Joanna, Andy, Laura, Santiago, Marla, Tiffany, Joaquin, Roberto; cousins Lucas, Emilio, Andrea, Nyla, Will, Camila, Ava, Esteban, and Maya; best friend Elliot. He will be cremated and his ashes planted under a strong tree on family land in California.
Our family is still figuring out how and when we will hold any memorial services, we will post updates here and through family on social media.
When we had an interview with the organ donor organization that will be trying to find lucky recipients for Caetano’s vessel parts, one of the required questions was which countries Caetano had visited or lived in. It took us nearly 10 minutes to document the many places we visited as a family, and that he experienced with some study abroad programs. Caetano lived in Chile (Pisco Elqui, and Chicureo) and Beijing China for 3 years. He visited his favorite country, Japan, 5 separate times, and collected manga and j-culture curios. Family trips to Korea, Malaysia, Argentina, Spain… wonderful heritage trips to Mexico… a summer program in Peru. An extended France, Netherlands, UK trip with his grandfather Emilio. Many, many wonderful moments together. He was worldly, culturally woke, and adventurous. Mom and dad will never forget giving him a subway pass and watching him head off to the Tokyo subways for the day to explore Harajuku and Akihabra fashion and the latest cosplay trends.
Cawos and tano were very close…
Caetano loved his family and sought more time and connection with all of his uncles and cousins. Seattle was far from California…
Collage of “photos with dad” for a school project.
With Dennis and Kay in San Luis Obispo, Emilio in Zapallar Chile, Jane in Yucatan Mexico, Esther and Celso in Ontario CA.
Please share or give a shout out!
Our family and Caetano would love to hear your thoughts, memories, or memes (he loved memes), please leave a comment below. Here are some photos shared by others with us, i’ll add them as we receive: