Friday, April 11, 2008

Riding in the Sunshine

It's a beautiful morning, the sun shining, the mockingbird singing, the kind of day Leif would say is full of BOB, "big orange ball," his silly name for the sun. It's hard to believe he will never be here to call it that, and to glory in it. It's the kind of day he would have loved to ride his motorcycle around the bay area, at way too fast a speed.

Leif loved fast cars and fast motorcycles, and said riding a cycle was when he truly felt most alive, free and happy. We always worried he would die in a motorcycle or car crash, and he had a few, but survived those, only to die in a careless gun accident. He lived a life with many high risks, which he discounted. He insisted he was willing to take them to live that way, although I believe that like most young men, he probably believed he was invincible and could overcome them.

This photo is of him on his super fast Suzuki bike. It was stolen last spring and he bought a more sedate silver Honda. I don't have a photo of him on that bike, but now the bike sits in my garage.

I hope that somehow, if there is an afterlife, Leif is riding free and happy in the sun.


Note added 11/10/08: Leif's death was ruled a suicide. At the time I wrote this post, the medical examiner's report was not completed, and the detective at the scene had told us she felt it was an accident, though we thought from the beginning it was a suicide.


  1. I called him Alex.

    A lot of you may not know me, my name is Jason. Leif and I met in high school. Except the day we met he introduced himself as Crispy, the reason he gave was his hands always went Snap Crackle Pop. He later said call him Alex, he didn't like being called Ashley. Not much longer and we were the best of friends, twin half brothers we would would tell people.

    In over fifteen years of friendship we went through a lot. From riding our first motorcycles together, to me seeing him through the end of a marriage, to him seeing me through the beginning of mine. He helped me through the death of my dad and I tried to help him with things he didn't want to remember.

    Not many people knew he was the godfather to my children and a man I was happy to call my brother.

    From our many road trips, to late nights working pizza, there wasn't much we hadn't gone through together.

    Over the last year or so we had begun to drift apart, he had moved to Florida and I was still in Kansas trying to take care of a family. I think of that as my greatest mistake in our friendship, and I hope he forgave me for it, and other things. From here on out I guess he will always be riding along when I'm still out on the bike he thought of as a torpedo.

    All of you may have known him as Leif, but to me he will always be Alex. My friend, my brother, and my life is better for knowing him, and emptier for him being gone.

  2. I am Alex's friend Melissa. I met Alex for the first time about 15 years ago at my sisters wedding. Alex and Jason walked in with their long hair and sunglasses. They were quite the pair to look at and I did a lot of looking that day. I didn't get to know him well until about 5 years later when Jason and I started dating. Jason introduced me to Alex before he introduced me to his parents. I had to be ok with Alex first, I guess I passed the test.

    We didn't talk much in the last couple of years due to distance. I would message him every so often just to check in. I truly regret not having messaged him more often. Some of my best memories of Alex are him and Jason trying to teach me to play Cyberpunk and me just not getting it. Then a few years down the road once I had figured out the whole RPG thing running games for the two of them, him burning pizza in my oven until I refused to let him cook pizza in there anymore, going to SCA events, hanging out at the bar, laughing at him as Samantha and Hannah (his goddaughters) climbed all over him, working with him at wireless, his hugs, the compassion and love he showed us both when Jason's dad died, the rare moments when it was just the two of us and we could just talk one on one. I will cherish all of these memories of him, I loved him and I will miss him

  3. I was trying to make it through the day...

    Not understanding why, not knowing what I could have done to make things better, not knowing how I could have helped...

    Then for a moment I saw you again, saw you riding the wheels of a stranger, but then your hand reached out...

    I wanted to follow, I wanted to turn around and ride, ride until there was no where else to go. I can't follow you this time, you're riding somewhere I can't go yet...not yet.

    My dad once said a person is lucky to have 5 true friends in their life, and as you drove me to his funeral I told you you were one of mine. I made mistakes though, I made one of the worst mistakes a friend can make. I went down the wrong road and didn't make sure you were there. I didn't make sure that we didn't drift farther and farther apart.

    I took the wrong road and now I can never get back...

    I want to be able to call, I want to say "Why aren't you here?", I want to here the surprise and then that mocking tone "I am here, but where are you, I'll be there in a minute."

    I am here my friend, I am'll be awhile before I get there though. I've got things to finish here first, then, then I can be there. So be patient my friend, my brother, be patient. I'll be there soon enough, it just may take awhile.

    My brother is gone and I can't fill the void that he left...not yet, not yet.

  4. I didn't know Leif personally but I sure knew him back in the days he played Planetside on the Computer in an outfit called Forgotten Soldiers. I believe it was this very photo that he posted on our forums of his new motorbike which he later wrecked. Members of Forgotten Soldiers and I knew him as Graeloch and he was always willing to help those who needed it. I can't count the times that Graeloch and I squaded together and faught the Vanu and Terran Repulbic in Planetside when nobody else was online, and even long after he left the outfit, we still occasionally played together. Leif, you will never be forgotten and for the rest of my life, I will remember all the advice you have given me for both in-game and out of game. It has truely made me a better person today. Rest in peice friend.

    -Sean (Spartin115) Valentine

  5. Graeloch, for that was your name in Planetside Outfit Forgotten Soldiers. You'll be missed. We squadded/grouped together on many occaision. Although we nver met, you live in th US & me in the UK. We always had fun. Your tactical mind & astute attitude came across, either thru chat or via teamspeak. I am truly saddened by your demis. God bless my friend. Blessings & wishes to your family, in the days to come. Radchek

  6. I don't really know how to write this, since Alex was the last person I would have ever thought I would be writing this about in past tense.
    Alex was my friend, a brother in arms (since both of us were disabled Army veterans and machine gunners), a confidant, an advisor, a story teller, my riding partner at times, but mostly just a friend that I knew I could trust.
    His presence filled a room when he walked in, and something seemed to leave with him after he left. He was one of the most well read individuals I have ever met, who could speak intelligently about anything from motorcycles to astrophysics and philosophy.
    We had stopped talking as frequently as I would have liked a couple of years ago, basically only getting a chance to talk when we were both in the Zaon forum at the same time; my life was getting busier with my business and his was full of his adventures in Florida. I have very few regrets in life, but not talking to him more these last few years will be one that will always haunt me.
    You cannot sum up the contributions to life of a man like Alex, you can only point out the obvious ones and cherish the memory of someone such as he.
    Vaya con dios, mi amigo, mi hermano del arme, mi compadre muy fuerte. Ride with the angles, shoot at the stars and may God keep you unto his right hand until we meet again.