Dear Kylie… Love, Kendall

Dear Kylie,

I don’t know where to begin. I’ve wanted to write this for weeks now. I keep putting it off because I know writing it out will hurt, but it hurts anyway. There are so many things I want to say to you because it’s been a year. I never thought I’d go an entire year without talking to you and I never wanted to. In fact this has been the worst year of my life solely because I can’t talk to you. I haven’t seen your smile or heard your voice in so long and pictures and videos just aren’t the same. I miss you, Kylie, but it’s more than that. I missed you when you spent days in the hospital and when you were in Charlotte, but it was never like this. Sometimes I miss you so much my heart physically hurts; I didn’t even know that was possible. Too much has changed in the past year. Sometimes I fear you may not recognize me. Before I sat down to write this, I spent four hours with other people by choice! I know you have some joke to make about that, I just wish I could hear it.

imageAlmost daily I think about how you would react to what’s going on now. I imagine how happy you’d be that I chose a college only forty minutes from home because I could come back every weekend to see you. I think of what you would say about the stories I tell mom when I come home from school. I spend so much of my time thinking about you that I start to remember things that we did so many years ago without trying to. I remember you coming to sit on my beanbag and forcing me to talk to you because you didn’t feel like I had talked to you enough that day. Every once in a while I’ll find myself researching the progress on the Peter and the Starcatchers movie because you used to ask me to look it up every day (By the way, there has been no progress and I seriously doubt that it will actually happen.) I remember mornings when you would come to wake me up. You were so loud that you would wake me up before you meant to, so I pretended to be asleep until you crawled up next to me and kissed my cheek. Sometimes I’m not even sure if these things really happened or if I’m imagining them. I hope they’re real because every moment I can remember with you in it is precious.

I remember the last few days more and more this time of year. Those are the few memories I wish I could forget. I remember the desperation and denial. The anger and confusion. I remember trying to think about anything else, but I couldn’t. I remember the last day when I wished I could switch places with you, but suddenly I realized that was selfish. You fought your fight with cancer and it was time for me, and the rest of the family, to let you go to a better place. Time for us to take our turn with pain and tears. Of course I wanted you to hold on, but I could never ask you to suffer even more just to spare me pain. You fought so bravely and it was time for you to have some peace while the rest of us took a turn on the battlefield. Now I just have to learn to live with that.P1010018

I miss you. I’ll never stop missing you. In your short life you became so much a part of me and I will never change. I wish I could spend even just a little more time with you, but since I can’t I’ll have to settle for this. Kylie, I hope you know how much I love you and always will even though I can’t tell you in person anymore. I ask every night for God to give you the kisses that I can’t.  I miss your contagious smile, and your great big bear hugs. I miss the way you could always cheer me up. And yes, I even miss your inexplicable ability to get me to do anything you wanted. I love you, Kylie. You are constantly in my thoughts and, more importantly, in my heart. You will always be my baby sister. I love and miss you more than you could ever know.

With all my love,

Kendall

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21 thoughts on “Dear Kylie… Love, Kendall

  1. I’m so glad that I was able to spend a few moments of those four hours with you and your amazing family. Your strength, courage, & faith never ceases to amaze me. I know Kylie is up there smiling down on all of you.

  2. Wow. We need more Kendall-like thoughts in the world, these words are beautiful in their wisdom. Thank you for sharing this with us Kendall.

    Kendall’s thoughts “You fought your fight with cancer and it was time for me, and the rest of the family, to let you go to a better place…. Of course I wanted you to hold on, but I could never ask you to suffer even more just to spare me pain.” reminded me of something Zach Sobiech’s older sister wrote about how she came to a similar realisation in the last month of his life on earth. I can’t remember her exact words but it was something along the lines of quickly realising that she couldn’t tell him he wasn’t allowed to die, and that she told him his suffering was collecting gold coins in the Mario Kart game, and dying was levelling up.

    Hoping you’re all getting some extra love this weekend.

  3. Thank you Kendall for sharing your heart with Kylie and with all of us. While the grief, pain and loss that all who knew and loved Kylie can’t compare with what her family is experiencing this month, it is somehow comforting to know that we don’t grieve alone.

    Given the biblical account in Hebrews of the cloud of witnesses, I think it is reasonable to believe that God allows those who are with Him to see and experience the love and memories of their loved ones left behind. I choose to believe that Kylie’s heart is full and bursting with the love of her family as she eagerly anticipates the joyous day when she will see you again.

  4. I am amazed all the time at how much someone like me…. widowed, disabled, and a stranger has learned from your entire family. Your ability to love, lose and verbalize it so well…. is a gift that you are sharing. I want you to know that my father’s name was Kyle…. so, when I first ‘met’ Kylie on facebook… I instantly ‘took’ to her…but then… with that smile… how could I NOT!!! You will never know the bounds of your lessons that you share have helped others in this world.

  5. Thank you, Kendall, for sharing some of what this feels like from a sibling perspective. I’m so, so very sorry for your pain, for your loss. I wish that I had known your sweet Kylie. Our son is battling osteosarcoma and I often wonder what his three siblings might be feeling. Of course this is your window into your feelings, but thank you for sharing it as I’m pretty sure I’ve learned something about sibling love and some of the things of grief. It is big. You have lost much. The reunion in heaven will be sweet. Prayers for you and your family as you continue to try to put one foot in front of the other each day.

    1. I am sorry you are fighting the beast too, Ann. It is true what they say, when a child gets cancer, the whole family gets it. It is so hard to see what is happening in the siblings’ hearts and minds because your focus, by necessity, is on the patient. I pray your treatment is successful for your son.

  6. Mark, All these posts are so beautiful. Actually, they are saying the things that I feel, to this day, of losing my husband of almost 7 years. Putting my thoughts into words stopped working the day his heart stopped working. But, I know, and after reading each of these posts from you and your beautiful girls and wife, that he, as well as Kylie, are now in a much better, pain free, and wonderful place…..in the home of our amazing God. Thank you for reinforcing this to me. Little do you know, that even though my husband passed away with a different type of cancer, (in my mind, C is C and a cure must be found NOW for each and every type. This disease has been around for too long now and has taken so many of our loved ones from us. It has got to stop!!!)…kind of rambled there before I finished my original thought…Little do you know, that your letters to Kylie have been a “therapy” to me (& hopefully, to others who are struggling with the loss of a loved one that is and will always be so close and dear to our hearts. Thank you all. I wish you all God’s richest blessings during this journey.

    (P.S. Mark, I went to grade school and high school with one of your co-workers (I think she’s a co-worker of yours), Lisa V. Please tell her I said hello!!!)

    1. Cancer does need to stop! I wholeheartedly agree with you. I will tell Lisa, Denise. And thank you for sharing that our letters have helped. It has been cathartic for us, as well.

  7. Thank you Kendall for sharing your heart! It is wonderful you and Kylie were so close. Thinking of you and appreciating your willingness to share some of your Sister memories of Kylie

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