By Eliza Jordan | firstname.lastname@example.org
My blood felt like it was boiling. I felt like I was suddenly hung out to dry and forgotten about. Almost as if I knew I had limbs but couldn’t use them. Stuck in a tree and couldn’t get down. Hopeless and looking to others for answers. But all of these feelings were real feelings that I could feel. And every other feeling I felt, I thought, Kyle can no longer feel.
We grew up together— St. Augustine local toddlers who magically morphed into successful college students, and despite the distance, still kept in contact from time to time. Kyle was a beautiful person. And if beautiful could be an understatement, it would be. Unlike many other young men around the age of 21, he was gentle, and spoke realistically with sincerity more often than not.
He was the captain of our high school football team. He was later named “Best All Around” and crowned Mr. Menendez, representing our high school at a great standard and as a great example for the rest of us. And although these are just mere awards for us to look back on, Kyle created stories for people that they will be telling for the rest of their lives.
For me, Kyle showed me that honesty, confidence and respect will get you a long way. “You’re going to be famous one day,” he would always say to me, joking enough only to crack a slight smirk, but serious enough to keep me confident in my own endeavors. I always said back, “So are you, Mr. Football All-Star!”
And he was on his way. When Kyle was pronounced dead, he wasn’t home with his biological family, but away at Presbyterian College in North Carolina with his football family. One night of just a little too much drinking, Kyle was rushed to the emergency room and later pronounced dead.
When I heard the news on Superbowl Sunday, I was devastated. I slumped in my chair to avoid facing the facts. I broke out in a cold sweat and felt a droplet drip down my spine. Tears began to stream down my face and denial set in. How could something so tragic like this happen to someone so pure, so inconceivably kind, at such a young age? This just can’t be true. This must be a hoax.
Covering my Facebook newsfeed and posted under an already-created “R.I.P Kyle Allen” page, I raced through the comments, eager to figure out just what this bad rumor, as I hoped, was all about. When I realized it wasn’t some sick prank, I was absolutely crushed.
I picked up the phone and called my best friend. “Kyle Allen just passed away,” I said to her, and with no response on the other line, I knew she was just as shocked.
We all grew up in the same neighborhood. We were in elementary school class portraits together. He was a football player, I a cheerleader and the relationship goes on. So why him? Why such a beautiful person who everyone loved and adored, who most moms wished for and many dads prayed for?
“It’s obvious that he was put on Earth to show us all lessons, and was taken away to make us realize them,” said his cousin, Allie, to me.
And so at the funeral, that was what got most of us through the difficult time. Puzzled faces glared off into the distance as we released hundreds of Menendez High School-colored balloons in his memory. Confused faces searched around the crowd for each other, trying to remember the last time all of the high school pals had seen one another and just how long it would be before seeing them all again.
For all of us who loved him like family, it was one of the most difficult deaths to face head-on. Kyle was young and vibrant— not someone you would expect to move away without saying goodbye, or at this extreme, pass away before you.
But he did teach me many things without knowing it. He taught me how to speak slow. I have not one memory of Kyle in a hurry, speaking fast or loudly in an unnecessary situation and he always kept calm. He taught me how to be gentle, how to stay aware of other people’s feelings and how to touch lightly on situations that were sensitive. He taught me how to listen to people when they were speaking; how to actually memorize important things about people because that was what was important to them, not me.
Kyle taught me all of these things not through guided lessons, but through life. I am not the only one who he touched either— all that know of him know his genuine affection and great attitude that he always exuded.
For this reason, he will remain as a great figure and friend that I had for many years of my life.
Kyle Allen, to me, will always be the Best All Around— from kindergarten to college, to the heavens above.