The Premonition

The Premonition

From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul

The Premonition

Kyle, his mom Karen, and his sister Kari had been through their share of pain. When Kyle was twelve and Kari was nine, their father had walked out on the family in the middle of the night. They had little communication with him over the next few years, and received no financial help.

To make ends meet, Karen and her children moved in with her mother in Dallas, Texas, for a short period of time. Later, she was offered a job in Rock Hill, South Carolina, working for the gospel group The Happy Goodman Family. When the group moved their home base to Nashville, Karen, Kyle and Kari went along.

When Kyle entered his freshman year at Hillwood High School, Karen decided to settle down so that Kyle and Kari could both finish their remaining school years in one place. The family had finally arrived at a place where, for a moment, all the world was right.

Kyle grew into a handsome young man, as well as a talented athlete. He excelled in football, and it became a big part of his life. When he put his uniform on, you could see his eyes light up. His coach and teammates called him ‘Hit Man’ because he loved to hit people and wouldn’t back down from anything. He was a good role model, and poured his whole heart and soul into each game.

His senior year, Kyle made the most tackles on his team and was named Defensive Player of the Year. He was determined to play for Austin Peay State University where he would attend college the following autumn.

Kyle and his family had overcome so much. Finally things were going well. Kyle was happy and filled with dreams. In fact, he co-wrote a poem about it with his friend.


A lost young petal
Wondering souls
I see the dream you seek
Follow me please, if you dare.
The dream is coming
For you and me.
I return by your side
With a heart in my hand.
It is like a bright fire dancing
To the slow music turning.
My heart as smooth as ivory
Has turned to a lonely, sulfur.
I retire my heart now to you,
Love me because I love you.

Still, a sense that he may fall hung over Kyle. He was at a crossroads; and though he couldn’t see what lay ahead, he had a premonition of what would befall him.

One night Kyle told his mother, “I’ve got the crazy feeling something is going to happen tome, and they are going to dedicate the annual to me.” Karen told him to never think like that, and Kyle laughed in his usual laid-back way, saying, “Oh, Mom, it’s just a crazy thought—nothing’s gonna happen to me!”

Still the doubts troubled Kyle, as he wrote in this letter that was found tucked away in his room. It read:

This is to anyone. I’m writing because I need someone to talk to, someone to open myself to. I need to be held. Yes me. Even I am not made of brick. Although I’m strong, even strong things break down at times.

Whoever reads, I don’t want sympathy or talk, I just want someone to listen.

I sit here laid back, tears are falling from my face. I’m so scared. I feel so alone, so lost, confused, sad . . . I realize I’m not going to have all the things I love forever.

Starting off . . . my friends. God, I’ve never felt this way. I look at their faces in my mind. What’s going to happen? Will I see my friend Kenneth’s face forever? I doubt it, even though our love for each other may stay, eventually we’ll separate. The same with Marv, Chris, Brew. Brew’s dad said he might move to Pensacola. I dread the thought of losing somebody so close, God . . .

And I’m going to college this year. God, I’m so scared, so afraid. I seeMom. God, I don’t want to leave her. Sure I want to party, have a place of my own, but I’m so afraid of leaving because I love her and Kari so much.

My grandparents are going to die soon. I can’t see living without . . . God . . .

Help . . .

Football. I’m so scared, I love the game so much. What if I don’t make college or get a scholarship? It will be the bloody last time to put on a pair of pads, and that hurts . . . BAD.

And Mandy. I love her so much, but, God, I’m not even going to have that forever . . . I mean, sure, you never know . . . but the only thing that makes me happy and I can talk to might not be here either. And also talking to her about problems of hers. God, this sucks so bad . . . I love you Mandy.

Wherever you may go in the future, I will love all of you . . . Mom, Kari, Marvin, Chris, Kenneth, Alec, Rodrik, Brian, Travis, Brian, Paul, Bobby. Trey, Brew. Mandy. Luke . . .

I mean, you know, all I’ve really, really, really, really got is myself, and then eventually I’m gone.

Well, I’m going. I love everybody. Thanks for listening, piece of paper, or whoever reads it.

Love, Peace.

Your buddy, Love, Son, Brother, 4 ever
I love U All—

That spring, Kyle went to a party. The friend that had driven Kyle had to leave early, so Kyle caught a ride with a young man later that evening when he was ready to go home. The young man, whom Kyle did not know well, had been drinking. Perhaps Kyle didn’t realize this when he climbed into the back seat, but it was a mistake that would cost him and his family dearly.

The car carrying Kyle and three other young people was traveling more than 100 miles an hour when the driver lost control in a curve. Police reports estimate that the vehicle slid sideways approximately 130 feet, then went airborne for 46 feet. The 1992 Mustang finally came to a stop when its rear end slammed into a tree. Kyle was thrown from the car through the back window.

Karen answered a knock on the door at 1:00 A.M. and experienced what she now calls “a mother’s worst nightmare.” She was told that Kyle had been in an accident and was at St. Thomas Hospital in critical condition.

On the way to the hospital, Karen kept thinking of all the hard times she, Kyle, and Kari had shared, and how they had always pulled together to make it through. She just knew in her heart that they would be able to again.

Karen’s hopes were soon dashed. “We did all we could,” said the doctor. Kyle had died.

Though Kyle’s pain was over, the pain his mother and his sister would endure had just begun. On Monday, March 30, 1992, (Karen’s birthday) a memorial service for Kyle was held in the Hillwood High gymnasium. With all the students, friends, and teachers present, Kyle’s football coach, Jerry Link, presented Karen with Kyle’s jersey, number 82, which they had retired in his honor. He also handed her Kyle’s cap and gown, which had just come in for graduation. Karen spoke to the crowd.

She told Kyle’s fellow students—among them many of his closest friends—that they must continue on, and that they must realize how precious life really is. She asked them not to take chances, and to live each day the best way possible.

Karen looked out into the faces of the young audience. Tears rolled down their cheeks as they remembered Kyle. They reflected upon his bright smile, his crazy sense of humor, his athletic ability—but most of all, the way he seemed to really care about everyone around him. She knew that they all realized, as she did, that it really was worth the pain just to have known him.

As the school year came to a close, Hillwood High School’s yearbook was dedicated to Kyle, and his premonition from months before sadly came true. Karen was presented with a yearbook signed by many of his friends and fellow students.

Bruce Burch

[EDITORS’ NOTE: Karen is now involved with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and speaks to high school students, as well as to groups of DUI offenders.]

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