Sunday, August 24

Taken by Surprise

From February 2007; Reposted August 2014 because we often don't know how much of an impact one life - however short it may be - makes in this world.

For Todd's mother, Ellie and his sister, Lisa

My encounters this weekend have left me feeling raw and vulnerable. I wanted a night in: no phones, no work. Just time alone to regroup - space for solitude. My 200 songs were on shuffle when  Cat Stevens' Lady D'Abenville began to play.  I burst into tears. It had been more than 20 years since I listened to it over and over again one September evening in my senior year in high school.

I had moved across the country and so I hadn't heard the bad news until my best friend, Lindsay, called.

Everything of that September, of the closing winter, and the depression that lasted the whole year came flooding back with that Cat Stevens song and rose again from from the depths of my heart, from places that have been secreted away for many years.

I was just 15 years old. A boy I knew, Todd Kyle, a beautiful, incredibly bright, handsome, sexy, rebellious, gifted young man with the most promising writing I've ever seen "walked off a cliff" on one of the last lingering days of summer. What and how it happened, I never learned.

Todd was a rebel and an individual in the truest sense of the word. He had a devilish sense of humour and I loved that he nicknamed me Young 'N' Russian.  He made me proud, for the first time, of my own heritage.
Above all else, he had integrity; he did what he knew in his heart was right and he spoke out against tyranny of all types. He was the most intelligent boy I have ever known.

Todd was the only boy who ever stood up for me. In a writing class where I was accused of plagiarism, Todd somehow knew I was being unjustly accused and stood up to our teacher and refused to take a passing grade as long as my writing would be failed because the teacher doubted its authenticity. Cynics out there may say it was a ploy to 'get the girl'.  But this young man was, in many ways, too self possessed and forthright to bother with ploys.  This was a boy who joined the cheerleading squad dressed in a tiger suit and parodied the gendered nature of sports and cheerleading.  He acted heroically in so many ways.

Todd passed so briefly through my distracted, hormonal, hyper-sensitive, moody teenage years. But decades later, I think of him still. I've written about him several times - in seminary - in memoriam - and now here in this blog.   He truly deserves a place in written posterity, even if he wasn't able to live long enough to write it for himself.

A most tender spot fell out of my heart when Todd Kyle died. Every now and then I think it is fitting to remember a great boy who would have been an even greater man, and to remember all the children, like Todd, who slipped away too soon. Gone, but never forgotten.


puerileuwaite said...

This was a beautiful and touching tribute, and I am blown away by it.

Dan said...

Great tribute to a great person, Rev Pink. Todd lives in your memories and now touches the lives of those who read about him here.

It's amazing how music can bring back such memories. It always does it for me too.

You rock Rev!

Lynn said...


Bugwit Homilies said...

I can associate with recalling those highschool romances and having those intense feeling come sharply back into focus, especially those that ended badly, so that the intensity is frozen in time.

Too bad about Todd. He had promise.

Perhaps you should give me the name if your yoga center. It apears that I have an appointment there, scheduled 44 years in the future:

"Paul: At age 88 you will die while partaking in a particularly intense meditation session. "

Bugwit Homilies said...

Well, crap, Tania. I just posted two more or less identical posts thinking blogger ate the first one. Now I see that you are just moderating. Control freak. ;-)

Oh well. Pick one and post it. Or post them both plus this one and we'll have a laugh at my lack of observational skills.

Reverend Sumangali Tania Pink said...

Dan, Peurli, Lynn - thanks for honouring Todd Kyle.

Bug - LOL. I guess I'll pave the way for you...might want to try ANOTHER med center, since I'm dying there soon!

Zen Wizard said...

Some people are just too good for this world.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Your memories of Todd are quite touching. I reread you post twice. It sounds as if his tragic death was a loss to the world. Blessings, Pink!

Anonymous said...

A lovely post!
This is in fact my first visit to your blog,and I really like it and shall return.
By the way I am in the U.K in Bristol.
Take Care

Bugwit Homilies said...

So long as they find you fairly quickly, it should be fine. Although, if you kick while in Lotus position, you may be left for days, as no one will want to interrupt you. ;-)

Reverend Sumangali Tania Pink said...

Hey Bug...I hope I dustify...did you know that Ramana Maharshi and so many of the great sages just turn to dust...its called Jivasamadhi and last time I went to India, I realised that for the first time, I really wanted to achieve that state. I studied and taught yoga and meditation for years but it was never ever on my list of priorities to actually achieve enlightenment.

So, maybe I'll just dustify myself...

Reverend Sumangali Tania Pink said...

Thank you Zen, SSN and anon. Todd was very special and I'm glad you honoured him by reading of him here.

Mustang said...

Absolutely brilliant tribute. May he rest in Peace.


Hugh Miner said...

i gave you my message , i am still crying .so i will not write another .well done he was my friend and i miss him

Bob Currer said...

Just testing...

Pink said...

It worked, Bob - there are posts up now. xx Pinks