For Tracy.

De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

Of the dead, nothing unless good.

I first learned that in high school in my Latin II class. My teacher explained that you musn’t speak ill of the dead; as long as you are alive, you can defend yourself and your actions. Once someone has passed, you can not and should not speak badly of them because they don’t have the ability to defend themselves, no matter what you think of their actions.

We’d just gotten home from a long and hot day at HARD on Saturday, walking around in the 90+ degree weather with dust flying and sweat dripping everywhere. I had just taken a shower and was sitting in the bathroom. Finally. I’m clean. At 2am.


Even typing that statement just now in this tiny white square on my computer took a bit of time. 





I step out of the bathroom and into the bedroom to examine social media. Rest in peace? We’ll miss you? You’ll forever be in our hearts?

Everything seemed so surreal from that point on. More social media posts started to flood. An official statement was sent into our ACA Alumni group from a current coord, explaining what had happened and how we all needed to come together in this time of need. Some of us had never met Tracy, but we’re a family and we needed to be there for each other. Any condolences sent were appreciated.

On ACA, when you make the team, we alum make it our duty to creepily add everyone on the roster within the first 20 minutes that it is posted. We make sure that you know that you haven’t met us yet, but we’re everywhere (creepy, I know). We’re like the second aunts and uncles that you never knew you had but could definitely hook you up with an internship. 

When I added Tracy on FB that lucky night in October, well, see for yourself:

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 9.07.49 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-06 at 9.07.17 PM

The next day, we all went to HARD. We had a good time, but in idle moments of the day and night, I’d think of Tracy. She was just here; she probably breathed in the same dust that I was breathing right now while dancing around to RL Grime.

Shake it off. Don’t feel so jaded right now. This isn’t the time. 

Monday. Work.
I’m a social media coordinator, so my job is literally to be on Instagram and Facebook all day.

Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling,

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 9.30.01 PM

That doesn’t even look like the Tracy I met.

The internet is an interesting place. You can learn so much information and grow and become well versed in a certain subject, and you can hide behind your screen and say hateful things. The dichotomies are frightening.

I anticipated a news story or a blog post; the stigmas behind music events and their connections with drugs and their negative connotations are always waiting to be posted. The media, the judgmental, the narrow minded are eager to report and criticize on subjects they’ve most likely not chosen to understand or venture into in order to create a true experience and opinion on the matter.

Reading through some comments made me so upset; it’s crazy/upsetting/slightly unsettling to realize that there are people who exist today who say the things they do, who act the way they do.

Where is the compassion? Where is the sympathy? Where is the respect? 

I choose to skip over highlighting negative comments that have been shared over social media in the Facebook groups, articles, and posts. I choose this because I don’t feel that they deserve the attention or the recognition. Their opinions are so small, their ideas are so narrow that they don’t deserve anything. 

There were waves of emotions. Lots of them.

Friends would seek consolation, and I felt it was my duty to be supportive, to act as a rock, to provide a voice of reason and a voice of comfort in this situation; I was inspired by Tracy to act this way. The Tracy I knew was not one to sulk in pain and sorrow, to drag out a situation and indulge in the pain. Tracy was optimistic, realistic, idealistic.

For me, ironically, the best way to feel better was to go on her Facebook page and read all of the posts her friends were leaving. There were a few on Saturday night, but by Monday, her page had been flooded with kind words.

Pardon me, not just words.

Sentences, paragraphs, essays, photos, videos.

Each of these posts were personal; even though they were posted on a public setting, each person took the time to say something that only she would understand. The common theme though was easy to see:

She was a beautiful girl with a bright and beautiful soul, and she is missed incredibly. 

The adjectives found on her page by people she grew up with to people she had just met a few months ago were similar. The feelings that she evoked from others were alike. The emotions that she had elicited with her passing were the same.

She was a beautiful girl with a bright and beautiful soul, and she is missed incredibly. 

As I lay in bed at night, I try to think of this situation in the most positive light as possible, but it’s incredibly difficult. She was just a baby. She was so young. It wasn’t her time to go. She had such a bright future. She had so many things to do. She had goals. She had a family who loved her. She had friends who needed her. She had a life she was barely getting to start. How can you turn that into something positive at all, especially with the most ignorant people on the internet commenting on every post possible with all the time they have to waste?

I looked again at all of the posts on her wall, at all the beautiful pictures of her, at all the kind words written, and that’s when it hit me.

When you go, when you pass on, the impact you leave on others is a vague but helpful way to measure your character. 

If you died tomorrow, what would happen? Were you a person who people felt saltily towards, who acted shadily? Were you a person who performed decent actions as a human being? And no, I don’t mean a person who donated money to a KickStarter campaign and checked the “Share on Facebook” box.

I’m talking about someone who acted selflessly and altruistically.

I’m talking about someone who affected others without motive or intent.

I’m talking about someone who naturally impacted others around him/her, someone who radiated positivity.

I’m talking about Tracy.

For someone so small, she sure packed a punch. She impacted so many people, whether she knew them for 10 years or 10 minutes. She impacted her friends who called her intelligent, beautiful, passionate, and bright. She impacted her acquaintances who found themselves sobbing at work because of her influence on so many others.

The level of eloquence and compassion that she evoked from people is remarkable; she was not someone who wrote/received “HAGS!” in your yearbook, it’s evident.

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De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

Of the dead, nothing unless good.

Tracy, there wasn’t anything ever to say about you before that wasn’t good, and there isn’t now — nor will there ever be.

To my mini, my spirit chick: the impact you’ve left is evident; you were a light that shined brightly, and you are still glowing everywhere. I’m grateful to have met you, and I’ll make sure to carry your light with me.

Donate to the Nguyen family if you can ❤ 

2 responses to “For Tracy.”

  1. This was beautifully written. Although, I’ve never had the pleasure of knowing this beautiful soul, I feel the word is shinning a little less brighter now that she’s gone.


    1. Thank you so much. I feel like you’re right, and I feel like because we lost a little of her light, we need to all make sure that we try and shine brighter and better to make up for her loss in the world! Strive to be a little better, smile a little more, and breathe a little deeper.


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