Dear Kylie,

Dear Kylie,

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since we said goodbye. Since I held you in my arms and carried you out of the house. To say I miss you is an understatement. I think about you every day. I wonder what you would be like now, almost fourteen. I wonder if your hair would have come back curly. I know you didn’t want that. You just wanted your hair to be like it was before cancer. You just wanted to be normal.

I’m sorry you got cancer. I need you to know that I didn’t lie to you when we talked about winning. I always believed we would. It never crossed my mind that you would die. Maybe it’s stupid to be optimistic about stuff, I don’t know. We all have different outlooks on life and mine is a little like Pollyanna… or Paddington. Remember how I read his books to you and Jenna at bed time? Paddington always thought the best of situations and people, even of Mr. Curry. Maybe I’m like that simple, stuffed bear.

From the very beginning, I thought we would win. Even on your very last morning when I prayed in the basement, I believed God would change it. I don’t understand why he didn’t. I’ve asked him but he doesn’t answer. I prayed so hard that he would make you well or take me instead. Wouldn’t healing you have been the best way to let this world know he was still around? It’s the story I would have written. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this whole mess, it is that I don’t hold the pen.

Sometimes I feel like I’m stuffed in this big, black bag that he gets to shake around but I’m sealed off inside so he doesn’t have to hear me when I scream. I know it isn’t right, but it is how I feel and no one gets to tell me how to feel (I learned that from your mommy). It’s just so weird thinking about God now. It’s like he is a million miles away one minute and so close I can’t see past him the next. If you run into him today up there, tell him I’m not mad at him. I just don’t understand his plan and why you had to go to him and not stay with me. No, I’m not mad, but I am actually a little afraid of him. Of course, he’ll probably just laugh and say it is right for me to be afraid. He is God, after all.

Christmas was lame without you. Nobody here believes anymore, you were the last one who still thought… Oops! I’ve said too much. But I guess you know by now. December was a double whammy of missing you and the loss of Christmas magic. We still put the tree out and hung your stocking and all of your special ornaments. I still complained about hauling the decorations up and down the stairs. Some things never change.

I’ll finish this letter soon and you might get some letters from other friends. They say it helps a person grieve to write a letter like this, but I don’t know about that. I’m not sure anything really helps. My heart has a Kylie-sized hole that no amount of paper can patch.

You and me for always,




33 thoughts on “Dear Kylie,

  1. I lost my daughter just over 4 years ago. Sadly I’ll tell you it does not get easier. I write letters to her often. I still want to call her. Like you I thought she would win her battle. I held her hand as she took her last breath. I’ll never forget that moment. I told her we would beat this. A dad is supposed to protect his daughter. But I couldn’t, I failed. I feel your pain. I live your pain. I want to know when this will get easier. I have learned that it won’t. Maybe I’ll learn how to live with it.

    1. Oh, Ken. I’m sorry for your loss. I don’t expect easier, just different. It helps sometimes to know I’m not alone though, brother. What I wouldn’t give to hear her voice or call her, like you said. Blessings to you.

  2. Dear Kylie’s Dad,
    Each time I read your words I want to find the magic words that make it better for you. I can’t. I can only share your sadness and say don’t give up the fight. Your words represent the fight, reminding us that we can’t forget that cancer steals children from their families. I’m so sorry for your pain. I think you are brave. I love Kylie, too.

  3. Dear Mark,
    Anything I say is inadequate to your loss of Kylie and about this most beautiful letter to her. Except I read every word and put it all in my heart. I never, ever, presume to know what parents are feeling, whose child has died and live the rest of their life with that forever, unexplainable total loss. I do know, that I too, keep HOPE! I do ask God, daily why.

  4. Thank you for always being so open about your feelings. Some men just tend to keep it all bottled up and, I believe, your blog helps them see it’s ok to express those feelings. I know that, at least my husband, has opened up more as a result of your influence! Hugs!

    1. Paul, I’ve never read him. But wow!

      I will go back again and again for helpings like, “The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.”

  5. I think I like your posts because they speak so plainly to what it feels like to live in this world with your child missing. I’m not mad at God either, but I am completely bewildered. Thanks for helping put the thoughts to words.

  6. Dear Mark,
    I’ve only lost unborn babies. At one time, I couldn’t imagine putting the word “only” in front of that comment. But after getting to know your Kylie through you, I must. I can’t imagine your heart. You are an inspiration. I am praying for you and your family. I lost my first mother in law and first husband and just recently my best friend of over 50 years last summer due to that awful monster called cancer. I agree we need to find a cure for cancer period! No one should have to ever be touched by it. Especially not beautiful little Angels such as your little Kylie. Though I am sure she has captivated all of the Angels up in heaven!

  7. Oh Mark, my heart aches for you. I can honestly say that I was never angry with God after my son died. I never blamed Him. Some folks said they couldn’t understand it, but I think it was because I knew that without Him I would have just as soon curled up in a ball and died, too. I’m praying for your family.

    1. Yes, I think that is how I feel. I do fear what else he could take, though. But that’s different than anger. I think we might say we don’t, but deep down we think if we do the right things and act a certain way, everything will work out, but thats just not reality win God. As CS Lewis said, “he’s not a tame lion.”

  8. You being honest with your feelings helps others be honest and real. I too don’t have any magic words for you except to say I am crying. You always put things in perspective and many times help me to love more even on bad days. So even though I never knew Kylie, she’s helping me through your words. God bless you and your beautiful family.

  9. My dear friend. I can’t heal your heart, nor can I give you Kylie back. But her story isn’t finished. I believe that Through you , Robin and the girls there will be a whole lot more to Kylie’s life than her brave sacrifice. Already things have taken shape ….. Her face in Times Square reminding people about the need for funding. Her family spreading the word, attending Summits and giving The hated disease the face of a little girl. Maybe God does have a Plan……. Bless you all

  10. Dear Kylie, I know you are having a wonderful day in Paradise with your Savior and all of the beautiful creations of God. We miss you here below, but would not bring you back into this world of pain and woe. Some day we will see you again and those of us who have not met you will glory in your presence.I always look forward to your Dad’s posts because it reminds me all about you and your precious innocence and cheerfulness. There are some things I would like to make sure that you know. When I first saw you on facebook, it was through my niece Valerie Williams ~ I believe she went to Church with your family some time back. Your smile burst onto the scene and has never left my heart. I do not believe God in any way caused you to have cancer, but you being human did. I know God has the ability to change ones’ fate, but in your case, this was something He could not choose to do ~ I’m not trying to be dramatic but God was not able to save His own son. He gave us humans free will and that comes with a lot of uncertainties. You gave magical inspiration to the people who shared your life with you, like me when I prayed. There are prayer times each of us had through you that we would perhaps not had otherwise. We went into God’s presence daily in prayer for you and are much better for having had the experience. I am also amazed at how a young lady such as yourself created such a stir and has such an impact in raising funds for a cure to this cursed disease in childhood. Once again, if things had not happened as they did with you there is a possibility the charge would not have been sounded as you did to your family for them to continue the fight even without you. You are beautiful and your face has been shared with thousands so they can put a face on what needs to be accomplished.Your family is loyal to you and is still leading the charge in your name. You are far greater a person in your younger years than I will ever be. You are so smart in what you said and lived each day. I won’t ever fail to remember you and appreciate your Dad and family for keeping the hope alive that someday soon, YOU will have initiated the cure for childhood cancer. Thank you Kylie ~ feeling your smile today!

  11. I know it’s not your purpose, but every time I read your blog posts I get extremely mad at God. Hearing about the pain you are experiencing hurts so much and I don’t understmd him. I’m scared fot what He is capable of doing in my life and taking away. I wish I could hold you and hug you for hours. I mean, I know you said nothing helps, and you have other children, and I’m 4 years older than kylie… but I just think about you all the time and I just suffer much for you and with you. I wish I could do anything to make you guys feel a little better… but I guess only God can do that… I just don’t know why he doesn’t. That makes me really sad.

    1. Hi Steph, we would take a hug. I have heard people say that it is okay to be mad at God. And I think that’s right. In fact, when you’re mad at him you are worshipping him in a way because you are acknowledging his control. I really appreciate you thinking about us and our loss. We’re getting by, I promise. Even though it hurts sometimes. Blessings.

  12. Once again I’m brought to tears Mark. I feel for you, and I feel that any words I write aren’t enough. I was hoping for her recovery as well, and it was shocking to find out of her departure. I’m glad you wrote the letter, to help with grief. I’m sure it will not ever get easier Mark, but I hope and pray that God moves strongly in your heart and teaches you amazing lessons through this. I believe you will see her again, my friend. The waiting is the tough part.
    Beautiful and honest letter.

    1. He is teaching me many things – about life, himself, people, and me. But I would give the lessons back for a few more minutes. I know in my head that in the grand scheme of eternity, these 20-40 more years I’m stuck here are nothing, but they seem like a long time. Blessings to you Staci! I loved your post I read this morning.

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