Eulogy was given by me on 12/28/17
We tend to think that we are merely human beings on a spiritual journey but death seems to remind us that we are spiritual beings on a human journey. Today we get the opportunity to remember Kyle’s human journey and honor his spirit.
As I look around the funeral home I can tell that Kyle is someone who touched our lives and imprinted our souls. My very first memory is seeing my brother born at the hospital in Fort Collins, the same hospital I was born in. It’s hard to put into words the joy I felt as I peered into the birthing room, balanced up on my tiptoes. That joy I felt was experienced every time I held my baby brother, watched cartoons, or recruited him to play our childish games. Not only did Kyle bring me joy but I always felt safe around him. I used to crawl into the bottom bunk bed with Kyle to escape the fright of my nightmares. Kyle brought that joy and comfort to everyone in life. His laugh and smile were infectious and I think sometimes addictive. We used to get free tacos from Taco Bell if we let the service ladies pinch his cheeks. Kyle would laugh, turn red and snatch up the tacos. If we were still hungry, those ladies would have gladly lost their job to give out more free tacos.
But brothers don’t always live in joy and comfort. We fought like all brothers do and older brother usually won. However, when we were little our parents would tell me, “wait ‘til he gets bigger.” Well, Kyle got bigger, but he never got even. His heart was always pure. Of course, I never picked on him again either.
We spent a lot of our childhood in the Rocky Mountains. That is where Kyle found his serenity and developed his passions. We learned how to fish and shoot from our dad and Uncle George. Kyle was such a talented shooter at a young age that he would win all the Cub Scout shooting competitions and go on to later become a professional 3-gun shooter and firearms instructor in his adult life.
Kyle’s proficiency with a rifle and reverence for nature made him a natural hunter. He found his love of hunting as a teenager with his step-dad Tim. I can still taste the venison from his first hunt. Hunting allowed him to gain an appreciation of life and provided an intimate understanding of how a body functions. It also forged friendships with fellow hunters, people proud to call Kyle brother.
The years leading to Kyle’s adulthood were filled with the usual milestones: getting a driver’s license, high school graduation and birthdays. Our teenage birthdays are sometimes the most important, especially 16. Kyle had recently seen a South Park episode that glamorized a famous Denver destination, Casa Bonita. As a result, Kyle was adamant about spending his birthday at the Mexican restaurant with Mom and Tim. Casa Bonita is filled with cliff divers, mariachi music, Black Bart’s Cave and unlimited sopapillas. Well, Kyle walked in and immediately turned to mom and said, “Can we please leave?” He ate a lot of sopapillas that night.
Like many Coloradans, we moved to the mountains to work in Breckenridge and become ski bums, and bums we were. Within a month, our motorhome froze, I lost my job as a ski instructor and we had to move to South Park. Even though we were poor and cold it was Kyle who held us together. He drove us to work every day, he cooked most of the meals, he paid the bills, and he was there for me during my struggles.
Through all of Kyle’s support, he found his passion for emergency medicine after he helped save someone’s life on a ski lift. He quickly pursued an emergency medicine degree at Aims Community College where he excelled at all of his subjects. Our family comes from a long line of medical professionals and many of Kyle’s nights were spent discussing medicine with Mom, Dad or our grandparents. Many of Kyle’s books pertained to emergency medicine but the majority of Kyle’s books and possessions revolved around guns.
Kyle loved guns! I mean, firearms. He would always correct us. “We do not say gun, they are firearms.” Kyle loved firearms! He had a firearm for every possible situation. Kyle was known to always have a firearm. This also meant he had a lot of bullets! We would find empty shells in his laundry, car, couch and even his luggage. He is the only person I have met that innocently tried to pass through Denver International security with empty bullets in his backpack. There are literally bullets everywhere and we expect to find these little brass keepsakes of Kyle for a long time to come.
I have had the pleasure to experience 29 years of life with my soul-mate, best friend and favorite human being. What I liked most about my brother is that he lived life on his own terms. As his spirit continues on, I am reminded that his human journey has left us with some lessons on how to live.
Just be alive. The simple fact of your presence may fill someone with indescribable joy. It may be that memory that lasts forever.
Comfort others without passing judgment. We all have nightmares and need to crawl into that bottom bunk to feel safe.
Be humble. Everyone grows up and there is always someone bigger than you.
Love nature. She gives us the venue to learn about how the world works and teaches us that we must live in balance with each other.
Life is also tough; we must stick it out and do our best. Sometimes you have to live in a frozen motorhome or eat unlimited sopapillas.
And remember to have fun! Find your passion in life and make your loved ones pick up all the empty bullet shells after you are gone!
Kyle William Short
6/17/1988 – 12/19/17