The Kylene Privett Site
Ten Years Gone

It has been ten years since our daughter, Kylene, passed away.

In last year's film Collateral Beauty there was a scene where Will Smith's character, who had recently lost a child and who some of his colleagues felt was taking too long to become fully functional again after the loss, is confronting Time personified.

"You just waste time," Time said. "See, I give you a gift, and you just waste it."

"I don't care about time," Smith's character retorted. "This is a prison sentence! I don't want your gift! 'Cause you took hers."

I had a few problems with the film that aren't pertinent right now. But that scene, that dialog -- yeah, that struck home.

In this year's Agents of Shield there's a scene where the agents are trapped in a dystopian virtual reality engine but are about to escape. One of their colleages, who didn't realize it was just virtual reality and thought it was the real world, asks about his ten (or so) year old daughter, who they had left behind on their mission. He's told that in the real world, his daughter didn't exist -- she had died years earlier. He was told that by another agent who obviously didn't have kids, for his response was predictable -- he refused to return to the "real world," however bad the manufactured dystopia was, because she was in it.

Again, this rang so true. I don't know how many times I was in a dream with Kylene alive again. Then I would awaken, realize I was back in reality -- and feel despair deep as a bottomless abyss. God, I wish I could just stay asleep. Now it just feels as if I'm just treading the waters of time. "The moments when you're in so deep it feels easier to just swim down," as the song It's Quiet Uptown from the play Hamilton so poignantly observed, along with "There are moments that the words don't reach, there is suffering too terrible to name."

But still we soldier on in a world that has grown progressively colder and less caring in the years since our daughter left it. This degradation would sadden her. For she cared, and she served the community, trying to make life better for those in need, not dwelling on her own physical challenges. She accepted people without judgement, and loved without conditions. So sad it is that on this weekend marking a decade since she passed that the city of Charlottesville, where she was born and spent a good deal of her infant life in the UVA hospital there, was the site of a rallying of white supremacist hate groups such as neo-nazis, who espouse a philosophy whose founder ordered the murder of handicapped individuals while claiming "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter," and the KKK, who regard themselves as promoting "Christian virtue." In response to these people, to paraphrase the words that the Ghost of Christmas Present spoke to Scrooge, it may well be that in the sight of heaven you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like our daughter. Her legacy is one of love, of kindness, of empathy, and of service. She lived Jesus's message. Verily, you know Him not.

God bless you, Kylene. You were among the best of us. And be it ten years or ten million, that will never change.

~ Dad

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This page was last updated August 13, 2017.