JANUARY 22 2011 UPDATE
A MEMORABLE FAREWELL TO KHRISTIN KYLLO
Khristin Elizabeth Kyllo’s dream was to attend Princeton University, and play for its softball team. Today, at her funeral service, Khristin was wearing her Tiger uniform. The coffin, which had been open Friday, was closed for the service today, draped in a black cloth, emblazoned with the Princeton emblem.
As former teammates from Princeton, Madison Highschool, the Shamrocks and Stars, joined hundreds of other friends in the filled-to capacity Presbyterian Church in Vienna, VA, celebrating her life with poems, scriptures, songs and personal remembrances, we were all imbued with a conscious reality of the happiness Khristin brought to her world, collections fortified by a very moving slideshow which celebrated her life, which ended January 13 when she died of natural causes in her dorm.*
And so, in this Church on this day, there were inevitable thoughts of what might have been for such a talented, intelligent, pretty young girl, but the open focus was on the life that was. It seemed that everyone who gathered after in the great hall had a favorite story to tell about Khristin – many on the softball diamond or basketball court – but an abundance of personal recollections of the person, especially her enthusiastic embrace of life with her peers.
All of the offerings mirrored the passage by her parents in the funeral card: “Khristin lived her life to the fullest; she ran faster, jumped higher, lived bigger, smiled quicker and loved completely. She attacked life as if she knew she was in a hurry.”
The many recollections offered by friends during the service concluded with a heartfelt, eloquent speech of longing and farewell by her boyfriend, Matt Moore – a tearful reminder that these girls whom we see as ballplayers, as athletes, are something more when they step off the field – they are young girls on the cusp of womanhood – with all the promise of joy each such girl anticipates.
Khristin’s death is a reminder that life is a precious jewel, to be held and admired for its beauty – perhaps not to keep forever but savored every minute.
Thus, one could not help remembering a long-ago exchange between Rose Kennedy and Ethiopian Emperor Haille Selassie on the occasion of President John F Kennedy’s funeral. “It’s wrong for parents to bury their children. It should be the other way round,” she said. He agreed: “It’s a violation of nature.”
Looking at all the photos of Khristin, with her infectious grin, in so many settings, one had to hope that whatever the afterlife offers, it is a happy place – for happy people like Khristin. Rfh
PS. The formal service was preceded by a quarter-hour of gospel hymns by the choir from the First Baptist Church, my thoughts reached back to the 1960’s, when, as a young New York reporter covering the civil rights movement, I sat in all-black churches in Alabama and Mississippi, listening to similar music. Today, there were many photographs of Khristin with teammates and friends of color, a subtle reminder of how much progress has been made in race relations, especially perhaps in sports, thanks in some part to the young people like Khristin.
*In an official press release, Princeton attributed Khristin’s death to natural causes. It was known that Khristin suffered seizures during her senior year at Madison highschool.
IN MEMORY OF JANELLE MOOREHEAD
Monmouth University will hold a memorial service for Janelle Moorehead, a freshman softball player who recently passed away, on Sunday, January 30 at 1:00 pm in Pollack Auditorium. Teammates, friends, fellow students and the Monmouth University community will gather at the service, which will be a celebration of her life. The memorial is open to the public.
Moorehead, who became ill while at home in California for the university’s semester break, passed away on Thursday, January 6 at San Antonio Community Medical Center in Upland, California.
A graduate of Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Corona, California, the outfielder was projected to contend for the leadoff spot in Monmouth’s batting order this season. She was the first pitcher in Eleanor Roosevelt history to throw a no-hitter and also was a standout track and field athlete for the Mustangs. The lefty slapper was a dynamic competitor who was expected to add speed and athleticism to MU’s roster.
The Mira Loma, California native spent the previous few summers playing for Team Smith, one of the top travel teams in the state, in addition to her standout scholastic career.
Moorehead is survived by her parents, Raymond and Selena, her brother Raymond Jr. and her sister Laura.
Tianna Stockley 2012 SS St Louis Chaos-Shellert verbal to Southeast Missouri
Selene Pola, 2012 P, So Ca Athletics 18 Gold, committed to Long Beach State