Sunday, May 16, 2010

Transcript of Kyser's Eulogy, Written April 20, 2010

Hey. In case you don’t know me, I’m “Kyser’s Little Brother”.

I mean, that’s my name. “Kyser’s Little Brother”. No doubt this is how I’ve introduced myself to the majority of you in the room today. It’s always been my cheap easy way of instantly making you think that I’m awesome.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m definitely special. I’m the only living thing in the history of time who’s held this title of “Kyser’s Little Brother”. So I’ve been asked to explain to you the meaning of that title. I initially thought I could do it if you were to give me 21 years up here to describe it, but I sense that even 21 years of my rambling about him will still only paint a small part of the picture.

From speaking with Kyser’s lovers that fill the room today, It’s become beautifully apparent to me that each of us are harboring a unique part of Kyser’s soul in our hearts. I’m here to try to describe to you the profoundly special piece of Kyser that he gave to his little brother, but the most important aspect of that piece is that each of you as well have your own piece of him that is parallel yet different. I intend to harness that magic today. This room is so chock full of love and passion for Kyser that the engineering part of him is probably in fear of the structural failure of this building. But toning down the passion and the love is just not an option today. If we blow the roof off of this place in celebration of Kyser Miree then I’d say we’ve got a good start on what we’ve gathered here to do. So capture this moment in your mind. Experience the incredible power of Kyser’s entire world crammed into this church, raising a collective, passionate, and utterly epic glass of honor to his name.

Until this week, every stride I’ve ever taken has been in Kyser’s footsteps. He spent his 23 years chopping away the underbrush and neutralizing the mystery monsters of this world. Meanwhile, I’ve spent my 21 years walking right behind him in the comfort of the danger-free path he’s cleared for me. His footsteps have not merely whispered suggestions in my ear- they have defined my entire life. Suddenly I see the abrupt end of the path, where only his machete lay on the ground on which he once stood. For the first time in the entirety of my existence, I’m faced with the challenge of clearing my own path for myself. I am petrified.

I choke on the darkest of irony as I tell you that now is just when I need him most.

How would Kyser handle this? I look back for more details in the path behind me. I look at what he’s done to get me this far.

I’ve taken the opportunity these past few days to stop right where I am, lay back, and let Kyser come to me. I need his inspiration before I can rise up from this horrific situation and carry on his work. So the memories of Kyser have flooded my mind lately. And these memories, well, they’ve been all about his shenanigans.

Kyser was a man of shenanigans. As he grew older, his shenanigans accordingly grew in their complexity, so naturally the Kyser shenanigans have taken on many forms in my lifetime. Anything from that rusty old Dodge diesel truck to Floyd the Bowling Ball- he poured his heart into these shenanigans.

You do know about Floyd the Bowling Ball, right?

I don’t know where he got a bowling ball in the first place, nor do I know where he was able to find all of these “unwanted” (and very breakable) pottery art projects; but the essence of this particular shenanigan is that he would put all of this stuff in the back of his black Jeep and drive it around town. So you better believe that every time Kyser turned a corner in that car, Floyd noisily made his presence known by rolling across the back of the Jeep and chaotically crushing all pottery in his path. This went on for months. It never stopped being hilarious to Kyser. It only stopped because Floyd eventually turned all of the pottery into grains of sand!

Floyd was a typical shenanigan for this guy.

Perhaps the most personally inspirational of his shenanigans to me, however, was the rocket ship. It’s true, the man built a rocket ship.

In engineering school, apparently the students eventually run out of math problems to work by their senior year, so the school has the students work on a design project. To Kyser, the Vanderbilt Engineering School Senior Design Project was the perfect opportunity to get college credit for his shenanigans. He and his team spent his entire senior year designing the most intricate rocket ship I’ve ever heard of in my life. I checked in with Kyser often that year: “Kyser. Dude. What’s going on with this rocket ship these days?” He would explain to me the countless late nights and the rigorous chin stroking and head scratching that he had been sinking into this project. You could hear the twinkle in his eye over the phone. This rocket ship was panning out to become his most awe-inspiring shenanigan yet. I couldn’t wait for launch day.

Launch day came around, and I spoke with him as I knew I would to get the report. “Kyser, dude, launch day! How did it go?”

“Well, Harry... We got about 4 seconds of air time and then the engine blew up and the entire rocket ship disintegrated and left charred rubble everywhere.”

“So Kyser, you’re telling me you just labored an entire year of your life into a rocket ship that would end up blowing up within 4 seconds of its lift-off?”

“That’s what I’m telling you, Harry!”

“Dude, you are totally lame!”

We laughed about it. But his classic shenanigan grin didn’t fade at all. This moment in time would change my life forever.

To Kyser, it wasn’t about that 4 seconds of air time followed by a shower of flaming rocket parts. It wasn’t a year of his life wasted as I had implied. Kyser lived every moment of the design and creation of that rocket ship. He had that classic Kyser grin the whole time. He spent these late nights and early mornings pouring his heart into his latest and greatest shenanigan. Stimulating his mind. Living to simply enjoy the fundamental moments that made up his entire life. As if he knew all along that life is way too short to frown, the man grinned at every conscious moment and profoundly enjoyed every second of his amazing life. In the process, he shook many of our hands, looked us in the eye, infectiously spread his beautiful grin to us, and made this world a happy-go-lucky, care-free place. He has performed the work of joy so masterfully in this world in his short 23 years than I could ever dream of holding a candle to in a long healthy life of many decades. THAT was Kyser’s greatest shenanigan. And for that, he is no longer just my big brother but also my life’s hero.

Kyser, I’m going to follow your footsteps one more time, my brother. I’m going to build a rocket ship too. I’m going to take all of the swelling hearts in this building, all of the love, all of the passion, all of the admiration, all of the inspiration, all of the infinite joy you have brought into our lives, and I’m going to cram it all in this rocket ship. I’m going to go outside and send it to you, wherever you are, Kyser. And when it lands in your hands, big brother, you will still never come close to knowing how much we here on Earth love you. Never.

I cannot adequately express my appreciation for the overwhelming support from all of you to this family. We miss Kyser so much. My Dad shared with me yesterday that “It’s an understatement to say that Kyser was this family’s stability. Kyser was the center of the Earth.” Where we’ve lost the center of our Earth, your love and support for us has kept us alive and breathing in an impossible time.

The hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life has been to say goodbye to Kyser Miree. The day Kyser breathed his last breath, I put my hand on his beating heart, and I told him the most natural thing that came to my mind, despite the immense shock of what had happened:
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Kyser, dude, we dominated. We owned this world. We saw the Dave Matthews Band. We ate unhealthy amounts of hot wings. We turned our phones off, looked each other in the eye, and opened our hearts to each other. Kyser, it was perfect. No hateful man with a gun can ever take that away from us!
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I will never forget kissing his feet and walking away from him for the last time that day, nor will I ever forget the privilege of being the lucky younger brother of the one and only Kyser Miree. Let’s honor this privilege to have lived in this world with him. Let’s celebrate him and continue his magnificent work of peace, joy, and shenanigans.

Rest in peace, big brother. Your little brother loves you very much.