18 years just isn’t long enough


By Mark Carpenter – 

If you have been married 18 years, it may seem like a long time. If you have had the same job for 18 years, it may seem like a long time. But if you are a teenager, 18 years should just be only the beginning.
The community of Manchester and actually the entire county suffered a tremendous loss last week, another young person from the county taken from us far too soon. The pertinent question is “Why?”, but it is one that we will never have an answer for, which makes the grief so much harder to handle. As I write this on Monday afternoon, I know that at this very moment, hundreds are gathering at a church in Manchester for the hardest few minutes of their lives, saying goodbye to a lovely young lady who was not allowed to be part of their lives for nearly long enough.
Kylie Lucas was one of those student/athletes who it was always a joy to cover as a local sports reporter. She was one of those kids who always went out of her way to say “hello” to me, always with that mischievous look and infectious smile. Usually before a game the conversation went something like Kylie saying “Try not to take any pictures tonight with me making goofy faces”, and me answering with “I didn’t know you had any other faces”, and on it went.
If you ever saw Kylie compete in any sport, you know she may have had a little bit of an attitude on the court, and that’s not all bad. It was almost a guarantee that she was going to foul out of every basketball game she participated in, with her unique combination of frustration and feistiness. I would just tell her after the game that she got her money’s worth.
The last time I talked to Kylie was at a Manchester volleyball game earlier this fall. She had just driven back from school and stopped at the match and walked up behind me as I was sitting at the table and gave me the usual big smile and hello. I don’t remember what we chatted about, probably how she was doing in school and such, but I will always remember those few moments.
Life is really so fleeting, but we never seem to realize that until we are older and time seems to fly by so fast. When you are 18, it seems like time is endless and there aren’t enough hours in the day to plan what you want to do with the rest of your years. A lot of people were proud of Kylie for deciding that she really wanted to be a success, heading off to college and bringing home straight A’s. It hurts real bad that we will never know just how much of a success she was going to be and that really, really doesn’t seem fair.
Kylie had something else going for her and that was the love of one fine young man in Colton. He probably passed it off, but getting a hug from him last Friday night at the football game and just being able to tell him to “stay strong” meant the world to me. Most high school romances run their course but Kylie and Colton had become inseparable and now there is one young man whose future went from planned to up in the air, but I have a strong feeling that if he is as tough as he was when he put on that catcher’s equipment, he will make it through all this.
I saw a number of photos on social media of the Adams County skyline this morning, and its shade of pink. That certainly was no coincidence. It is well-known that Kylie’s favorite color was pink and do you not think that maybe that pink sky on the day of her funeral meant something extra? Her way of telling everyone that she was okay and looking over them all. Yes, we would rather have her still here but faith tells us that she is okay and will always be that certain light in the sky.
I drive through Manchester twice a day every day and for the past week that ride through town has certainly felt different, felt like something was missing, which of course it was. One morning late last week I spotted the sun shining just perfectly through the buildings in town, very, very bright, and I thought to myself,” She is smiling.” That same night as I drove through Manchester, I noticed the moon also shining very bright. That same smile.
18 years. What can one get done in 18 years? If you are a young lady like Kylie Lucas, the answer is not nearly enough, but all of the people she touched in those 18 years will have memories to cherish forever. When the sun and moon are shining their brightest, you know why.
“When you go through deep waters, I will carry you.”