Yes, He Was One of Those People – A Eulogy for Colt

Editor’s Note:The following is a eulogy done by our own staff member Min for Colt, an active member of the Chicago pansexual kink community. The Den has a policy of printing these memorials for members of the community who have passed whenever possible.

First, let me say that I am honored and humbled to be here today, to give these words about our friend Tracy. There are a lot of things we can say about him.  In seminary, we used to say one of the tricks of delivering eulogies was to transform a sinner into a saint.  But in this case, I don’t have to do that.  While Tracy, was by no means a saint, nor was he a sinner in the pejorative sense of the word, he was “one of those people.”

And what do I mean by “one of those people?”  Well, it’s simple.  Tracy was one of those people who you hear a lot about, hope to have as your friend, but seldom do you encounter them.  Tracy was a good man, a kind man, a man with a gentle and fun loving spirit, quick to crack a joke, even if or especially when it was bad, quick with a smile or a hug, a song that he would sing for you or even a playful friendly kiss on a shiny bald head.

He was someone whose spirit filled any room he was in.  He was someone who was quick to help, quick to offer aid and comfort, usually had wise counsel, and all in all, he was someone who, even if you disagreed with him, if you really examined how he operated, you knew he had good intentions.

One thing I observed about Tracy is not only was he consistent, but he was sincere.  Right or wrong, for good or bad, he was a sincere person.  As “one of those people,” he was someone who was dedicated to those he cared about, be it his biological family or his chosen family.

Another thing that has been evident is that he was “one of those people” for whom you had respect.  First, there was his Love for loud Hawaiian shirts.  And quite honestly, you have to respect anyone who can confidently and unashamedly wear such a fashion.  Even when he was the only one. He was secure in himself and his choices in life.  Then again, he kinda had to be, didn’t he?

As a dedicated son, sibling, life partner, cherished friend, and special friend to many, he was someone who spoke not always with words, but by his actions. If you heard him talk about his family, especially his parents, if you heard him talk about or observed his relationship with Carol, witnessed how he spoke about Tracy, or listened to him talk about his work, his community, or even the way he just cracked one of his really bad jokes, it was obvious that he was a unique man with a unique view in life.

So while we mourn his passing this morning, we should also rejoice.  Rejoice in the fact that we got to, even if only for a little while, experience this man who Loved life and Loved living it. That was evident in the way he smiled, the way he laughed, and the hugs that he gave.  But what also was evident was in the way he talked about the things and the people that he Loved and cared for.

When I was thinking about Tracy yesterday, and thinking about his impact and influence on the lives of so many, including myself, and thinking about his trademark shirts, my thoughts for some reason went to the story from the Bible in the book of Genesis of Joseph.  Joseph and his amazing Technicolor dream coat, or for the purposes of this explanation, Tracy and his amazing Technicolor shirts.

And it is the aspect of Tracy that was the dreamer, that was the optimist, that was the counselor, the helper, the caregiver, that reminds me of Joseph. Just to briefly recap the story, Joseph was someone who was born into a noble house, and then after a series of incidents, most of them unpleasant, found himself being one of the core advisers of the ruler of ancient Egypt. He had prophetic dreams and those dreams predicted both good times and bad.  But despite the problems Joseph had in his life, he found the will to forgive those who had wronged him, give aid to those who needed it, and most importantly, be a supporter for the things and people that he Loved.

And of course, his trademark – his coat of many colors.  Which he wore as a badge of honor, with a sense of pride.  It was something that distinguished him from everyone else, but also, said to people that he, Joseph was someone special.  Joseph was “one of those people.”  And again, so was Tracy.

I think on what I knew of Tracy over the last few years, and while I didn’t know him as well as I might have liked, I can say, Tracy was my friend.  And I am not alone.  It is a powerful thing to be able to call someone friend.  It is a powerful thing to be around someone whom has many friends.  And like Joseph, he carried himself and treated people with a sense of respect, dignity, and integrity.

You know, at times like these, at the death of a Loved one, we try to make sense of things.  And sometimes, things just don’t make sense.  Sometimes we are at a loss to understand why good people are made to suffer.  Why bad things happen to good people.  Why people are taken from us too son or why they leave us “behind.”  And I wish I could answer those questions, but I can’t.

What I can say and what I believe is that we are all put on this earth for a reason.  We may not know the reason, we may not understand it, but there is a reason.  I think one of the reasons Tracy was put on this earth was so that he could inspire people.  So he could inspire people with his personality, with his outlook on life, with his general demeanor, and with the way he took responsibility when no one else could, would or should.

And you know what? We don’t have to like it.  And that’s okay.   It’s okay to get angry, it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to ask those questions that may seem judgmental or angry.  It’s okay to curse and scream and cry.  It’s okay to feel the loss, to feel like a part of you, Carol, Tracy, is gone.  It’s okay to be angry because you lost a Loving a dedicated brother, uncle, cousin and a sincere friend.  It’s okay because there is joy around the corner.  It’s okay because it does get better.

It’s okay because Tracy touched our lives.  He touched us in the way that only he could.  He left each and every one of us with something special and unique, and I don’t know about you all, but I am a better person for having had Tracy as a friend.

So when the crying is over even though the sadness will never quite go away, remember the good times.  Remember the way he used to smile, remember the way he used to laugh, remember the look in his eye when you knew he was about to tell a bad joke, remember how he sang during karaoke.

Remember the way he gave a hug, especially during those times when you didn’t even realize you needed it.  Remember the way he cared for people, looked after people, and supported those things and causes that he worked so hard for.  Be inspired that you knew someone who was as dedicated of a son as he was.  Be thankful that you experienced someone who remembered not to take life so seriously that he wasn’t afraid to laugh, even at himself.  Be grateful that you encountered someone who knew how to Love others, but he Loved them fully.

Because at the end of the day, that’s what really counts most.  Not who we Love, but how we Love.  Tracy Loved well.  He expressed that Love throughout his life.  And all you had to do was talk to him for a few minutes, whether it was one on one, or in a group, and invariably, unmistakably, if you paid attention, you could tell that this was a man who knew how to Love and wanted other people to experience that Love as well.

To the family, be grateful that you had a son, brother, who Loved you and expressed that Love with a commitment more should be aware of and be inspired by.  Know that because of your influence, your Love and care and guidance, what you instilled in him has impacted others and will impact them far beyond the conclusion of this service.

To Carol, you were lucky enough to experience a true Love.  Tracy Loved you immensely. It was evident in the way he looked at you and talked about you.  Cherish that Love. Not all of us are as lucky to have experienced what you have.  And remember what the evidence of that Love inspired in others.  And always remember his final words to you and carry that with you forever.

To Tracy, he Loved you as well.  It was evident in the way you guys laughed and smiled and joked together.  You too got to experience something special.  You too got to share in that type of family that is truly something special.

To friends, family and co-workers, never forget what Tracy brought to your life.  Never forget this man who was truly unique.  Remember what he taught you, remember what he showed you and remember how he supported you.  And try to pass that same spirit on to someone else.

And to the Tribe.  We will miss him.  Things will not be the same without him, but things were special because of him.  Let us honor him by incorporating his spirit into ours, and spread that spirit to others. Those who are already a part of the Tribe and those who are to come.

The outpouring of support, the expressions of sympathy to the family and to Carol, have shown that Tracy had an impact.  And we all, from those who have called and written, to those who were present last night and those who are present today, we will take a piece of Tracy with us, and go forward, and pay it forward.

Remember Tracy for what he did for you or someone you know.  Remember his smile. Remember his laugh.  Remember how he made you feel.  Remember his acts of kindness and generosity.  And then tell someone.  Tell someone about the type of man he was, the type of person he endeavored to be.  Hug them in the way that he hugged you. But most of all, tell someone about his story.  Tell someone about the type of man he was.  If we do that, his spirit will remain with us for all of our days.  In this way, we will honor Tracy.  In this way, we will continue his impact.  In this way, Tracy will never be far from us, in thought, word and deed.

When I first started thinking of what to say for this service, the first thing that came to me was the phrase, “What is the Measure of a Man.”  And because Google is also my friend, I came across this poem that I thought summed up Tracy perfectly, and it is perfect note to end on.

Author: Anonymous

Not – How did he die? But – How did he live?
Not – What did he gain? But – What did he give?

These are the things that measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.

Not – What was his station? But – had he a heart?
And – How did he play his God-given part?

Was he ever ready with a word of good cheer?
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?

Not – What was his church? Not – What was his creed?
But – Had he befriended those really in need?

Not – What did the sketch in the newspaper say?
But – How many were sorry when he passed away?

These are the things that measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.

In the words of something I heard Tracy say once and saw him write, just remember – “One Tribe y’all.”