“She’s just a beautiful child. She was my light. She was sarcastically funny. She would have me cracking up regularly. She and my boys would get together and just make me laugh. She could sing. She was a little actress. She could have done anything,” says Andrea Irwin, mother of 15-year-old Kyla Robinson, who tragically died in a car accident on Madison’s east side on Friday, Sept. 4.
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the community where Kyla had so many friends that loved her. It’s been even tougher for Irwin.
“I’m kinda just here,” Irwin tells Madison365. “I can’t even wrap my mind around the fact that she’s gone. It’s just very surreal right now. I think every day I struggle a little more just because it sinks in a little more.”
Irwin hopes the Madison community to remember Kyla as a “kind, beautiful, talented phenomenal young woman.”
“She’s the friend that everyone wanted to have. She was wise before her age. She has been through so many adult things as a child. Every person should have a friend so understanding and caring,” Irwin says. “She never cared about what other people thought about her or who she was friends with. She did the right thing because she knew it was right.
“I tell people this story all the time … in fifth grade, she had an autistic kid in her class and other kids don’t usually understand heavy levels of autism,” Irwin continues. “When he would get upset because he couldn’t speak what he wanted to say, Kyla would just get up and go over and sit next to him and start talking to him. Not about what he was supposed to be doing, but just talked to him about life and joke and fun things. She would make him smile and help him to calm himself. She was just being his friend. That’s the kind of person she was.”
For Irwin, it is the second time she has gone through this incredible heartache of losing a child. Irwin’s son, Tony Terrell Robinson, who was killed by Madison police in March of 2015.
“It’s unfortunate that I’ve already been through this and I know the process and what’s coming,” Irwin says.
Kyla was 10 years old when she was going through the pain of losing her brother.
“Kyla said to me, ‘Momma, I watch how you’ve been hurt and I didn’t get the time to know him like you know him. I miss him and I love him. I was so little when he died that I didn’t get a chance to know Terrell like you did.’ I looked at her and was like, ‘That’s some real deep understanding for someone so young,'” Irwin remembers.
“Kyla helped get me through a lot with the passing of her brother. She was my only daughter and my very best friend. She was just so wise for her age,” Irwin adds. “The things that I’m learning now at 40-plus years old, she already had a grasp on. I told her that it was such a blessing that she was able to gain such an understanding of life and how things work at such a young age so she could go through her life and not have to experience all of the hardships and negativities that people have to go through to gain a deeper understanding. She had that already.
“When I talked to Kyla, I talked to her like she was an adult because she had been through so much adult stuff and was so wise for her age.”
Kyla’s friends at Madison La Follette High School and throughout the community sent Madison365 some of their favorite photos of Kyla.
“Kyla was one of my closest friends … we never had to text every day to know our love for each other,” Ashzianna Alexander, a 9th-grader at Madison La Follette High School, tells Madison365. “She was one of the happiest spirits on this earth walking. You’d never expect the pain she went thru living here. Thank you for letting my friend’s name live on … it means the most to us.”
Kyla expressed interest in possibly being a veterinarian someday.
“She loved animals. She made our dog feel like he was a person. He slept on the bed with her and they were so close,” Irwin says. “She loved children. She wanted to adopt children when she found out there were so many kids who needed homes. She was a phenomenal babysitter – so patient and so kind. She had the ability to put everybody else at ease.”
My baby has amazing friends. I love you all.https://www.facebook.com/100011440643037/posts/1411924939198847/
Kyla’s friends also made a video (above) of their favorite memories of Kyla and expressing how much they missed her.
Irwin says that there has been some drama and some negativity that she is currently facing right now but she is doing her best to stay positive.
“There’s a lot going on right now. There are people in the community who are attacking me in certain ways – some of them I know and some of them I don’t,” Irwin says. “I’m praying for those people who are saying things that are not appropriate.
“I have some very good friends who are supporting me and trying to keep me up right now. I’m really struggling. I’ve lost my oldest and now my youngest. She’s my only daughter,” she adds.
Irwin says she is most concerned with Tony and Kyla’s two brothers.
“They are amazing. They are holding it together much better than I expected. We as a family have been trying to keep each other on solid ground,” Irwin says. “My boys are amazing young men. They really are. I look at all of my children – Terrell and Kyla included – and they are everything right I’ve ever done in my life. They are a culmination of everything I could ever wish them to be. I’m so proud of my kids.”
Irwin says that she and Kyla’s father are in the process of finalizing details for her funeral.
“I’m aware of the large amount of young ones that are close to my daughter. My oldest son’s friends have always been there to take care of my three young children as is they were their own siblings. I want to make sure there’s a chance for the kids to celebrate her life,” she says. “We’re trying to figure out a way with COVID to have an ability for all those who want to pay their respects and say good-bye and share memories of Kyla to be able to do that safely.
“I want to celebrate her the best way we possible can. Kyla was such a beautiful light. I want everybody to be able to see who she was – she’s such a beautiful person. She was a part of my life and a piece of my soul that is no longer here. We’d call each other in the middle of the night if we weren’t around each other and talked about our lives and what was going on as you do with your very best friend. It’s a very empty feeling to know that the world no longer has such a beautiful light.”
A visitation will be held for Kyla on Saturday, Sept. 26, 10 a.m.-noon at Heartland Church of Sun Prairie, 800 Wilburn Rd.