Thoughts from a Friend, Ken Lindebak

Curator’s Note: This is something Alana shared with me from a close friend of the family. I’ve redacted some of the more personal items, but wanted to share the rest.

My name is Ken Lindebak. I’m retired and live in Auburn Washington. My wife Carreen and I became very close friends with Jack and Alana in the last few years.

I firmly believe that nothing in life happens by chance. There are reasons things happen that we do not have the capacity to understand. My daughter was friends with Alana, and that’s how we met Jack and Alana and the kids. We found out very quickly that we shared values and had past experiences that each of us could relate to. This led to a bonding that is something felt and not explained. Carreen became a mother to Alana and I became an advisor and father figure to Jack. In Italian terms, I became a consigliore to him, an advisor on all manner of subjects.

Jack signed his emails to me, “number three son”, and called me Dad–with no disrespect to his own father. Carreen became “mom” to both Jack and Alana, as a sign of their love and respect. Jack was my number three son, and became more of a son than my own two boys.

We came into Jack and Alana’s life during a very difficult three years. We were there when Jack went to the hospital with an infection in his foot which turned out to be the dreaded “Mersa”.

Jack was at war with a deadly bacteria, one that we could see was making steady advances, as each flare-up left him less able to cope. I don’t think many people know how much pain Jack suffered, not only the excruciating physical pain from the infection in the leg and the medications he had to endure, but also the mental pain from the loss of self-esteem—a strong man, unable to move, and unable to financially support his family.

We were fortunate to see Jack and Alana and the kids this last January when they came to Auburn and stayed with us for a week. Jack and I talked about many things. We laughed together watching a DVD of the first season of the old TV show, Moonlighting.

Jack knew that Carreen was having trouble with the location of the washer and dryer. On this visit, Jack wanted to fix that. He got the materials and we relocated the washer and dryer. It was not easy for Jack, nor without pain, but he was determined.

Jack knew that he was not going to win the battle with Mersa. The medical profession had used an array of exotic antibiotics and he was now to the point where the doctors were using the last and most exotic one in their arsenal. Jack talked about coming to the Bonneville Salt Flats in August to watch me race, but I had a feeling when we hugged to say goodbye, that this would be the last time I would see him. I knew the end was close for Jack, but like all of you, I was shocked when it actually happened. I mourn for him.

To Alana: Know that the Lord will give you the strength that is needed for you to guide and raise Andrew, Brooke and Turner. Be strong in your convictions and unwavering in the pursuit of what you believe is best.

Andrew: You are now without your role model. Your father loved you as his first born and provided a stiff hand of discipline. That discipline is now missing. Listen and obey your mother. Her word is now the word of your father. Make him proud.

Brooke: You are very intelligent and intuitive. You understand more than your brothers what is right. Don’t hesitate to advise them, especially Turner, when he gets older, and pushes the envelope to get attention.

Turner: You will always be close to your mother, but don’t abuse that relationship. Learn from the stories about your father. Keep his picture with you always.

And to my beloved, Jack: Rest in peace my son. No one could have done it better.