22 January 2014

A Tribute to Kaylee

Here’s to a girl I only spoke to twice.

A girl who was a friend to my sister, a light among her peers, and an incredible encouragement to anyone experiencing hard times.

I don’t remember the first time I met Kaylee McBeth; I just know that she was one of many little blond girls running around with my sister on the soccer field.  There was a whole throng of them, always giggling and following the ball like its gravity was pulling them in.  On those sunny spring days, Kaylee was a bundle of kindergarten energy and grins.

Many years later, I had the chance to teach French at my old high school, where my sister was a senior.  It was surreal to walk the halls, but it was stranger to be surrounded by my sister’s friends.  Some of them were even in my classes, and that was weirder yet.  Kaylee wasn’t one of my students, but not a week went by that she didn’t affect someone or something at the school.

Here’s to a girl so loved by the people around her, I never heard anyone speak ill of her.

It’s hard to be a teacher and not hear nasty things about so-and-so or such-and-such.  Especially at such a small school as the one I taught at – gossip spreads like food poisoning at Casa Bonita.  If I ever heard a word against her, it was that Kaylee was one of the few who was quite possibly too nice, too sweet, and too kindhearted. 

The few times I did see her around the school, a glow of joy followed her wherever she went.  Her family didn’t have the easiest time of it, yet she was constantly smiling.  Now that I think of it, I’m certain she had a smile on her face every time I saw her. 

Here’s to a girl I barely knew, who will be sorely missed by every person who knew her 
– and many who didn’t.

Kaylee lived above and beyond the circumstances of her own life and problems.  She radiated confidence that can only come through faith, and like a star, she blazed with beautiful luminosity.  Imagining a world without her is incredibly saddening, yet in a way she is the lucky one.  The basketball star and ever-laughing friend is closer to God than ever, and someday we will finally catch up to her.  Tragedy brings tears, but we can also be encouraged by her example.  Our hope is not in our current lives, it is far above us in the power and love of God.  Kaylee knew this, and I daresay this knowledge is part of what gave her so much joy.

In the wake of her sudden absence I have seen everything from news stories to old photos show up on my Facebook feed, but the consensus can be summed up in just a few words: We will all miss Kaylee. 

1 comment:

Giles Hash said...

A beautiful tribute. It's strange to think about a world without people we've met. And that sudden loss always leaves an empty place inside us.