Sometimes people will say it’s impossible to put into words what a loved one meant to them. Well, I can think of infinite words to describe my brother. How much time do y’all have?
I want to thank everyone who continues to care about Kyle. Hopefully I can say a few things that honor both you and him.
Kyle leaves behind some big shoes to fill. A lot of really cool, size 14 shoes. Kyle was charismatic and caring. He wanted to make your day better – whether it was your worst day or your greatest day. From simple text messages in the morning, to handwritten letters sent across the country: Kyle spread positivity and helped the people he loved. For example, when I said I wanted to watch more movies, he showed up at my apartment with a DVD player and a whole DVD collection. When I couldn’t sleep, he got me a noise machine for Christmas. When I moved into a new apartment, he ordered me all of his favorite kitchen appliances. Kyle was especially willing to help people who were down in the dumps and it’s no secret that he was familiar with being there himself. He enriched and saved many lives – both directly and indirectly. Kyle even told me that the reason he donated blood is because he knew other did people the same thing – which helped him in the surgeries he had as a child. He wanted to do his part.
Kyle was independent and loved to travel. Just recently, he didn’t want me to pick him up when we hung out, because he preferred the adventure and planning skills he could show by taking the bus. When we were kids, our father taught us the sport of Orienteering and we both learned to navigate on foot, in the woods, with a topographical map and a compass. Kyle was great at the sport and I remember he was brave enough to do more difficult courses than me. Some of my favorite memories as a kid are camping and going on long hikes with our family and friends. I’m sure if you know Kyle, you have been impressed by his travels, whether it was on foot or in an airplane. He traveled to both Canada and Europe to watch Formula 1. He went to many cities including Montreal, Bruges, Paris, Amsterdam, Denver, San Francisco, and New York to name a few. When he wasn’t traveling, he piqued his international interest by listening to news and radio from around the world. He listened to BBC, Russia Today, and Al Jazeera. His favorite radio station was Newstalk from Ireland. Kyle loved to explore. He would go any distance for an adventure and he would go to any length to help a friend.
Every memory of Kyle should include how much he loved food. He needed fuel to get where he was going. People who have known Kyle for ten minutes or ten years will say “That guy can eat.” You might think a few carrots are a snack. Well Kyle would roast a whole bag of carrots and eat them all in one meal. You might have a bowl of ice cream for dessert. Kyle could eat an entire half gallon and add two cinnamon buns – as a garnish. If you cooked for Kyle, he would show you how much he liked it by getting 2nds, or 3rds, or 4ths. If he cooked something good, he always wanted to share. We would talk about food for hours; he would tell me what his favorite new discovery was and how to replicate it. If I visited him, he would send me home with his favorite sauce, salsa, or snack. One of my favorite stories was when he liked a product from the brand Annie’s; he wrote the company a letter saying how great it was. He wanted to say thank you because he loved brands that cared about quality. He was elated when they responded saying how nice it was to get positivity instead of a complaint. They also sent him free snacks in return! Of course, you know Kyle loved candy. I remember one day we went for a walk and after a few blocks he offered me a root beer barrel. On the next block, he offered me a starburst; on the next block, he offered me a lifesaver. I burst out laughing “Kyle, how much candy do you have?!” It was just after Halloween and there had been a big sale. He had a lot! Kyle even made sure there was always birdseed on his balcony to feed his feathered friends. If you ever had a meal with Kyle, you ate with one of the world’s best connoisseurs.
I can’t think of Kyle without thinking of music. We grew up going to bluegrass festivals with our parents. He loved Allison Kraus and Creedence Clearwater Revival. He loved the soundtracks to our favorite video games like Tony Hawk Pro Skater. He introduced me to all of my favorite bands as a teenager: Tool, Slipknot, and Nine Inch Nails. He loved ICP, Three 6 Mafia, and Gang Starr. One of his favorite producers was Skream. Kyle produced his own electronica and made a rap album in his 20s. His first mix tapes I ever heard were recordings of him doing speech therapy as child. From there, he went on to write an album from which he consistently earned checks in the mail. If that’s not progress and perseverance, I don’t know what it is. I got to critique his writing a few times and it was fascinating to hear him explain the games he played with words. His subject matter was often explicit and he stopped rapping in favor of pursuing sobriety, but rap was certainly another game he was good at. More recently, he would show me pop songs, ballads, and dance mixes he liked. I don’t think he ever went anywhere without a speaker or headphones. Kyle had great ears and a great voice.
Kyle Halloran loved almost anything with wheels – as long as it could go fast. He especially loved cars. He loved driving, he photographed cars, he played racing simulators, he watched top gear, he built lego cars, he loved offroading, engineering, and especially racing. His favorite sport was Formula 1. Just like him, it is FLASHY, fast, and full of personality. It was captivating to hear him share his comprehension of the sport and I treasure the memories of watching races with him. As kids, one of our favorite games was San Francisco Rush for the Nintendo 64. As adults, he showed me Gran Turismo on Playstation 4. I don’t think I ever beat him in a racing game, but a few years ago, we got to do a footrace. We met up to go jogging at NC state and we raced on a flat section of greenway about half a mile long. I finally had my shot at first place. We were neck and neck until the last 100 yards, when he dared me to sprint to the finish. I forged ahead, panting, with a side-stitch, as I watched him tear up the pavement, way ahead of me. He was faster than me on foot, on a bicycle, in a video game, and in a car.
Loving Kyle was like being on his F1 team: there were some tragic losses; and some great victories. Frustrations and celebrations. He raced his own way and he loved everyone who supported him. Kyle got immense support from the recovery community, comradery from his coworkers, and ineffable love from his family and friends. I thank anyone who ever helped him and was there for him. Now we can continue to help one another, play games, enjoy music, explore, and eat a lot of food.