Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Eulogy for my father, David Ernest Lack (1953-2012)

The following is the text of the eulogy I delivered today at my father's funeral service in Evergreen, Colorado. David Ernest Lack passed away on Saturday, October 20th, after a long and arduous battle with cancer. 

In what turned out to be the last lucid conversation my father and I shared, I sat at his bedside while he told me, in the plain and simple terms he always favored, that he had chosen to let go and exit this world as peacefully as possible. I was quickly overwhelmed with emotion, crying into his arms, unprepared for the pain I felt hearing him admit something I had long known was inevitable.

But my Dad, as always, knew exactly what to say to calm me down, to turn this seemingly dark moment into one of peace and spiritual fulfillment. He said to me, in a raspy and weak voice from which his love still shone through undiluted: “Tell me about your life. Tell me about your favorite moments of your life.”

He did not say his life. He did not ask for me to help him recount the innumerable highlights of his fifty-nine years, though it would have made for an endlessly fascinating and profound conversation. No, he asked me what my favorite memories were, of my life, the life we had shared in up to now.

Read more after the jump...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

David Ernest Lack: 1953 - 2012

My beloved father, David Ernest Lack, passed away this morning after a long and arduous battle with cancer. He was 59.

David went peacefully, in his sleep, with his sons and wife at his side, reading him his favorite psalms and singing hymns. He loved us with a full heart all the days of his life, and he felt our love right up until the very end. 

David is survived by his wife, Tamara Sue Lack, and his three sons, Christian David Lack, Jonathan Rolland Lack, and Thomas Walter Lack, as well as a vast and loving extended family, including eight siblings, countless nieces and nephews,  cousins, in-laws, and last but certainly not least, his nine-month-old granddaughter, Sophia Graye Lack, whose beautiful and miraculous presence helped to give David's life meaning during the hardest stretches of his illness. 

Sophie and David
He was a spectacular father, a loving husband, and a good and faithful friend, the kind of man who always put himself before others. Even a few days ago, when it was clear the end was drawing near, he put us and our emotional stability first. We have always tried to pay it back or forward as well as we could, but I doubt that any of us are quite as selfless or as filled with a burning, passionate desire to help and care for our loved ones as Dad was. I already miss him terribly. 

David came such an incredibly long way to his life. Raised in the small town of Cherokee, Iowa, his family was relatively poor, since his father was Pastor for the local Lutheran Church and had nine children to care for alongside David's mother, who taught music in her spare time. David went on to put himself through almost ten years of University education without any assistance, ultimately gaining two Master's degrees, in Music and Divinity, and following his father's footsteps to become an Ordained Pastor of the Lutheran Church. He died with a wonderful family of his own by his side, in a beautiful house in Golden, Colorado, his head turned towards the Rocky Mountains. As much as any man can be, David was a success, for he lived a life of love and received as much in turn. 

David's favorite Psalm was number 121, A Song of Ascents. We read it to him in the final moments of his life:

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From whence does my help come? 
My help comes from the Lord, 
who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved,
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.  

The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade
on your right hand.
The sun shall not smite you by day, 
nor the moon by night. 

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep 
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forever more. 

And on the night before David passed, I sang this song, which he passed on to me when I was young through our mutually favorite work of literature:

The road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet,
And whither then? I cannot say...

I love you Dad, and I always shall, every day of my life.

David and his family - Thomas, Jonathan, and Tamara

David's funeral is tentatively planned for Wednesday morning, October 24th, at 10am, at Evergreen Lutheran Church in Evergreen, Colorado. If you knew him, please come and help us celebrate his wonderful life. 

If you would like to make a donation in my father's memory, please visit Clinica Colorado is a not-for-profit clinic that serves the uninsured in Colorado, and was a cause my Dad greatly believed in, serving on their Board and helping to get the service started. It is a great cause. Thank you.