In Memoriam: Kayla Hutchings


By Lora Power

Kayla Hutchings, a graduate of the College of the North Atlantic Journalism Class of 2004, passed away on April 1. The following is a tribute to her on behalf of her classmates and on behalf of everyone in the journalism program. Kayla’s classmates included: Ian Hutchings, Amanda Young, Ryanne Radford, Deidre Budgell, Jillian Fry, Lynn Robinson, Lora Power, Colin Farrell, Kim Parsons, Brian Scott and Ben Stevenson.

Big salty tears fell in many time zones this month for our dearly departed Kayla Hutchings, whose laughter echoed heaven and whose heart was made of gold.

When a friend passes on, especially a friend like Kayla, words can't describe the sinking feeling we all get. Our pens fail us, but the shine in every tear says a thousand words about everything she meant to us.

Kayla was my friend. She was my neighbour and my classmate. She was my partner for school projects, and she was the person I confided in over coffee when things got rough. I trusted her, admired her and loved her. But that doesn't make me special; Kayla was all those things to anyone in need. She was everything you would ever want in a friend, and more. There was something magical about her optimism and her ability to keep going, no matter what.

Kayla never said, "I'm going to die." That's not something she would say. Instead, when she found out she had cancer, she said, "I'm sick and I'm going to beat it with optimism." We all marvelled at the strength behind those words, and we never doubted for a second that her courage and her positive attitude would guide her through it. All of us - her family, friends and acquaintances - prayed with persistence for the girl who touched so many lives.

We must not resort to thinking that our prayers were not enough. Perhaps her body is no longer with us, but our memories of her will last forever in our hearts and in our minds.  A person made with so much love and goodness does not just fade away. She left bits of her love with every person whose life she touched: her family, her friends, her classmates, even passers-by at whom she smiled.

How do you describe a person so great? All who love her know that no language can answer this question justly. Her arms were always open to those in need, and her home was always welcoming. She lit up every room she entered. And she still lights up the room wherever she's mentioned. I've spoken with many of our old classmates, all of whom remember Kayla with love.

Jill remembers Kayla's humour; Ian remembers her openness and familiarity. Deidre remembers with fondness her willingness to help friends. Lynn remembers her dedication. We all agree that Kayla was too good for such a fate. She deserved all the good in the world, and we pray that she finds this in heaven, where she surely is.

The only argument now is whether she has become an angel, or whether she had been one all along.

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