About Ed Lally
My Father was, and forever will be, a beautiful soul. His passing has left an enormous void in all of our lives, the size of which can only be rivaled by the size of his heart. I've watched him and my Mother change countless lives. I thought I knew the scope of his impact on this earth, but in the last 6 days the outpouring of love and appreciation for the man he was has been overwhelming.
Before we reminisce about the beautiful way my Father carried himself throughout his life, l wanted to take a moment to discuss his death. My Father has been in tremendous pain for the last 12 months, plagued by a disease that robbed him of his most precious asset – his spirit. Most of you know the joyous, gregarious and generous man that my father was… what you may not know is that he battled clinical depression his entire adult life. For the majority of his years, he conquered the disease, but during this last year – though he battled - his mind and body simply became too weak. He lost nearly 100 pounds; he lost many of his facilities; he was no longer able to maintain general health; he lost his ability to carry conversations & his amazing ability to relate to people; he lost his brilliant sense of humor; he lost his faith; he lost every cornerstone upon which he’d built his life and family- the disease robbed him of himself right before our eyes.
He strived each & every day to rise and shine like he’d always done, but the disease simply took control of his mind & body. It was no different than family members who I’ve witnessed suffer though Alzheimer’s and cancer - with one exception – the understanding & awareness of this disease. I wish there was some way to relay to you what my family has witnessed, but there are simply no words. One day last May, my Dad was the comedic star of a music video for my band who had everyone in the room laughing... 3 days later the depression struck and I never saw him smile or crack a joke again. Twelve months of countless doctors, medicines, treatments, strategies and his own steadfast will to recover... and nothing.
We mourn the loss of my father today, but my family and I lost him 12 months ago. I pray that his death can shed some light upon the disease known as depression - because if a man that burned as bright as Ed Lally can fall to this disease, it's far more deadly than anyone is aware. Throughout his life my Dad served as a beacon of hope to those around him. I know he would like his battle with depression to serve as a beacon for other's who have or may experience this disease. As a family, we will honor his death and work to improve the awareness and treatment of depression, establishing a foundation in his name. If anyone is struggling with this disease, we stand here - as my father taught us - with open arms and open ears, ready to help in anyway we can.
My Father taught me alot in his death, but those lessons pale in comparison to what he taught me during his 67 years of life. I've never known a more generous soul. He never asked for anything. He lived to serve.
Along with my Mom, my Dad volunteered for FiSH, donating & delivering food to the needy; they established CYO and taught CCD at St. Stephen Church; taught pre-kana, counciling engaged couples; and served for Marriage Encounter, couciling married couples to improve their relationships. My parents even spent Christmas Eve in The Baltimore City Woman's Prison. They organized it so the inmates could celebrate Christmas Eve caroling... and they did so with time enough to take my sisters and I to my Aunt & Uncle's for our annual Christmas Eve celebration.
My parents volunteered for all of this, while my Mom raised my the three of us, and my Father ran his company - Master Graphics Inc. Through the company, my Dad donated money, services and goods to countless charities, schools & organizations. Kennedy Krieger, Habitat for Humanity, The Greater Edgewood Education Foundation, Learning Inc, Archbishop Borders, Catholic High, St. Joan of Arc, The Women's Shelter-House of Ruth, the Ed Block Courage Awards, Sparks Retreat House... the list goes on.
For over 20 years, my Dad coached the three of us in soccer, basketball, baseball, and softball. At the request of the school principal, my Dad even taught sex ed to the boys in my 7th grade class… yeah, that was awkward:)
Perhaps my Dad served his fellow man most beautifully when both he & my Mom began volunteering at St. Vincent's Villa. Here they were assigned children who had been abused and left with emotional & mental handicaps. They would pick up [Stephen] and [Eric] on the weekends & holidays, care for them, take them shopping, trick or treating or even just bring them home to play with Candace and I. They furthered their involvement with St Vincents when they became foster parents to [Timmy] & [Tessa]. Our foster brother & sister had been abused by their biological parents, resulting in significant behavioral and emotional damage. My parents game them safe haven, and love enough to move mountains.
It wasn't just these larger gestures, my Dad served others in the small moments as well. I received a text yesterday from a friend who said "I feel privileged to have known such a wonderful man. He really believed in me as a young graphic artist, spent time coaching me, gave me confidence, and helped me open doors" - this is a close friend, and I had no clue my Dad had helped him. My sister Candace heard from an old grade school friend on Facebook who said "during a school trip in the 80's I got very sick with a high fever and your Dad hung out with me, watching TV and playing checkers, even calling and updating my parents to tell them I was ok, he was such a selfless and kind man".
Beyond the community and our family friends, my Dad always served his family first.
When I was 23, I had a burning desire to pursue music professionally, but I had never even been in a studio, and was far too shy & lacking in confidence to even consider this dream. One day while working for my Dad, we drove together to deliver envelopes up to Harrisburg, PA. On the way back he pulled into a parking lot, stopped the car and told me "we're at The Sheffield Institute for the Recording Arts. I set you up an appointment and you can't say no". He walked me thru the door, and I haven't looked back. My parents let me build a recording studio in their home, and as I'm sure you all know, my Dad is 'Fiction 20 Down's #1 fan.
Much the same as my experience, my sister Candace told me Dad always encouraged & supported her from swimming to dance to sports to her band Another Lincoln, he even subtly encouraged her to do the right thing when she was too young & stubborn to do it herself. When she was 13 they were headed to Valley View Farms the day after Christmas. Leggings were the "in-thing" and Candace wanted to rock them with a very short sweatshirt. Instead of saying no, my Dad went upstairs, put on a pair of my Mom's pantyhose over his tighty whities, came down the steps, grabbed Candace by the hand and said let's go! She went upstairs and changed:)
And my little sister Alexis, well, she's always been Daddy's little girl. She didn't need an alarm, he would wake her up every morning to make sure she was on time for school, college and work. She had a car, but didn't need one, he would drive her and her friends to & from school, the mall, dances... it didn't matter how far. When she was 8, he even offered to take her on first date to see the movie Casper... she said, "ok Dad, as long as I can call you Brian" Dad always said, "Alexis, you make my heart chuckle".
There are countless stories like these, not only from my sisters and I, but from my wife Megan, my brother-in-law Tim, my Dad's brother & sister, and everyone in & around the Lally family. He never let us want for anything. He never discouraged us. Along with Mom, he always did everything in his means to make all of our dreams come true.
And wow, Mom, how he loved you. I don't need to tell all of you, because I'm certain my Dad already did. He was her best friend, her confidant, her equalizer, and her first & only love. Together they let their sense of humor carry them through the toughest of times. That same mentality has helped us bear these last few days... these last 12 months.
My mom always said Dad's greatest gift was his wisdom in all things. When their nephew Kevin died in a car accident at the age of 15, my Mom was distraught beyond consolation, praying & praying for Kevin... until my Dad pulled her close and said "if we were all standing at the pearly gates, waiting to get into heaven, we would lift Kevin up and say "take him Jesus, take him first, because he is just too special of a soul".
Dad, we echo those sentiments today in your name. Take him Jesus, for Ed is far too special of a soul.
I know he's up there now, smiling down, happy that Candace has chosen something appropriate to wear today:) He's handing out Fiction 20 Down business cards to any angel who will listen. He'll be there on Alexis' wedding day to walk her down the isle with me. And he'll be by my Mom's side until the day they meet again.
Just as on earth, he will always be there to watch over and care for everyone & anyone who needs an angel.
We love you Dad.
Eulogy delivered at the funeral of Ed Lally by Jordan Lally, May 23, 2014.