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Memorial Service


Stephen Lynn Zack

October 18, 1979 - August 21, 2013
Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Bear, Delaware

Opening Words
ets be honest with death. Lets not pretend that it is less than it is. It is separation. It is sorrow. It is grief. But let us neither pretend that death is more than it is. It is not annihilation. As long as memory endures, Stephens influence will be felt. It is not an end to love. It is not an end to joy and laughter -- nothing would less honor a man so vibrant than to make our lives drab in counterfeit respect! Lets be honest with death, for in that honesty we will understand Stephen better and ourselves more deeply.

Musical Interlude from Jonathan Zack

e have come together today to share our sadness over the death of someone we all love very dearly. We feel a grief today that reaches into the depth of our being. There are no words that can take away our sadness. It is something we must live with. Yet, this painful sadness is born out of the joy we have felt in knowing and loving Stephen. As much as we would like to wish away this sadness, we would not want to wish away the joy we have experienced from having Stephen as a part of our lives. When someone we have cared for dies, family and friends gather with sorrow in their hearts. At times when we must face death and loss, we need one another's company for understanding and support. Just to be together, to look into one another's faces, takes away some of our loneliness and draws our hearts together in the healing which we can offer one another. At such times, the ways that sustain us separately come together in a virtual harmony that acts across all creeds and faiths and beliefs, and assures us of the permanence of human goodness and hope. So we are gathered here today in grief and sorrow, but we have also gathered to celebrate a life. We have come together to give thanks we knew this vibrant person, to express our gratitude for the days and years we were able to share with him. We are here to remember and memorialize an honorable soldier and a good man. But our first task is to face, full and unafraid, the reality of this death and the grief and loss we feel. In the words of the Roman philosopher Seneca, "In the presence of death, we must continue to sing the song of life. We must be able to accept death and go from its presence better able to bear our burdens and to lighten the load of others Though we grieve the deaths of our loved ones, we accept them and hold on to our memories as precious gifts. Let us make the best of our loved ones while they are with us, and let us not bury our love with death."

Personal Reflection
o one person can sum up the life of another. Life is too precious to be passed over with mere words. Rather it must remain as it is remembered by those who loved and watched and shared. It is each of you, then, that the living memories of Stephen's life are committed. To your hearts and minds go the enduring remembrances of this life. There will now be a period of silence. I ask that each of you use these moments to remember Stephen as only you can. And in the days to come, please continue to share your living memories of Stephen with the rest of his family and friends. Id like to ask Stephens brother, Benjamin, to come forward to speak.

n closing, Id like to share with you this, from a Native American tribe, who imagined that their dead spoke to them saying "When I am dead, cry for me a little, think of me sometimes, but not too much. It is not good for you to allow your thoughts to dwell too long upon the dead. Think of me now and again as I was in life, at some moment which is pleasant to recall, but not for too long. Leave me in peace, as I shall too leave you in peace. While you live, let your thoughts be with the living."

t is done. We have bid loving farewell to Stephen. We are profoundly glad that he lived. We are glad that we saw his face and felt the glow of his friendship and love. We cherish the memory of his words and deeds and character. Carrying him thus in our hearts, let us now proceed from this place in comfort and in peace, assured that even in this time of loss and sorrow, life remains precious and good. May we also on this day rekindle in our hearts an appreciation for the gifts of life and other persons. Let us honor the life of Stephen by living, ourselves, more nobly and loving in the days ahead. As you return to the routines of your lives, go in love, and may an abiding peace go with you.

No one knows what its like To be the bad man, to be the sad man Behind blue eyes.
~ Limp Bizkit

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