Kylie Day

Today, Perimeter School will celebrate Kylie Day in honor of our baby. I’d like to share what her mother wrote to describe what Kylie Day represents:

 

Joy In Spite Of

Perimeter School was one of Kylie’s favorite places. She was less than a year old when her oldest sister started first grade. So, Kylie spent her entire life making carpool runs, attending poetry recitals, and watching play rehearsals (long before she was old enough to audition herself). She loved Perimeter School deeply, and Perimeter School loved her well. Our family is tremendously grateful to this precious school for honoring her on her birthday week with Kylie Day.

What is Kylie Day?

The ache of missing Kylie is with our family with every breath we take, and it will be until we are together once again. But that is not why we have Kylie Day. It’s not about Kylie’s death, but rather about how she lived her life. Kylie loved fiercely, and she radiated joy and sunshine. Truly, she was like that from the moment she was born. She was always smiling, and she searched for ways to make others smile, too.

Over the last several years, people have shared their Kylie stories with us – stories we had never heard before. They are snapshots of who she was, and they are priceless treasures to our family. One was about how Kylie went out of her way to befriend a student when she was new to the school. One was about how Kylie purposefully encouraged a younger ballerina who needed a boost. Another was how she sought to make a fellow cast-member feel welcome and comfortable during her first play. Almost all of them were about how Kylie sought out opportunities to spread joy.

Choosing Joy

During those 10 ½ months of horrific cancer treatment, joy was a quite a bit more elusive. Kylie was in tremendous pain. She couldn’t walk or eat. She was almost always terribly nauseous, and she constantly battled ghastly side effects from treatment. Nothing about her circumstances promoted joy. But Kylie knew a secret… joy – REAL joy – doesn’t depend on circumstances. It depends only on God. So with unwavering determination, Kylie held onto the joy she had in Christ, and she LOOKED for moments of joy IN SPITE OF her circumstances – for glimpses of light in the darkness of cancer. And she still found it most often by trying to share joy with others.

That’s what Kylie Day is all about – spreading joy and sharing a smile. It can be a little gesture. Sometimes those are the very best ways to brighten someone’s day. Kylie would be thrilled to know that through this day, she is still having a small part of bring joy to others.

While she was sick, we watched her extraordinary gift for joy with amazement. It was quite humbling to be taught by the one suffering, especially when she was only 12 years old. Often in my grief I struggle to find joy; but I had an astounding teacher, and I don’t want to forget the lesson she taught me.

Sometimes choosing joy is a daunting task. I will admit that right now I frequently find it utterly exhausting. Nevertheless, it is worth it. And when I fight for it – like Kylie did – and embrace it even when it is mixed with the hard and ugly of life in this broken world, I find that the process has drawn me closer to Jesus. It somehow reminds me of the deep and abiding joy waiting for us in our eternal home, and the smiling face that will be waiting for me when I get there.

12 thoughts on “Kylie Day

  1. My granddaughter, Lexi, attended Perimeter School for only 3 non-consecutive years, interrupted by a stint in England. Her first year (4th or 5th grade?) she was in Kylie’s class. She’s now in high school, but, her little brother is now a student at Perimeter. Clearly our family loves this school. What most touched me were, 1) Kylie reaching out to Lexi, a new student trying to fit in with kids who had been together for years, and, 2) the day her baby brother was scheduled to be delivered (less than 3 months after Lexi first started there) her class prayed for her mom and her baby sibling. Even now, these two things bring tears to my eyes. We have been so blessed by Perimeter and Kylie’s kindnesses to our granddaughter. You raised a remarkable young lady, and though her sojourn on earth was way too short, her legacy of living as Jesus would have her is still impacting lives in a most JOYOUS way.

    1. Thank you for sharing that. We have heard from a few new students how Kylie reached out to make them feel welcome. It touches our heart. She never liked to see someone down or alone.

  2. This was heartbreaking to read, Mark… but also deeply inspiring.
    Kylie’s time on this earth was far too brief but she made her mark nonetheless.
    My heart goes out to everyone who loved Kylie; I know your memories of her are bittersweet, but at least you were blessed enough to have been touched by this angel’s presence in your life.

  3. Kylie’s smile stays with me though I never met her. I met you once at CUREFEST 2015 yet I find myself thinking of you & your family. Quite accidentally, I found myself reading the MAYOR OF PORTSONG blog in the Spring/Summer of 2015. Mark, I tell you all this because 3 years later, I am following the Joy a 12 year old girl spread all her life even the 10 months of Cancer. Clearly Kylie left Joy everywhere even in Burke, Virginia
    Thank you Kylie for sharing joy & living even with a stranger

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