Sunday, August 10, 2008

Leif - A gun Pose at Age 10 - Now 4 months since he died

It's been a difficult three days, leading up to the four month anniversary of Leif's death. I haven't posted in a couple of days, partly because I'm very involved and busy with Peter A's family, with my three grandchildren visiting us, and there's been little time. But I realize now, it's also been because I was posting photos of Leif as a child posing with his beloved toy guns and leading up to this date, wondering how I was going to deal with the subject, wondering how I was going to face the fact that his life clearly had been going downhill for a year before he died, and precipitously so since his motorcycle accident in July 2007. I had thought of posting the photos of him in the hospital a year ago, but the anniversary of his surgery was during our family reunion and I had neither the time nor the heart to post those photos, knowing that in some sense, the event they portrayed was in some measure a part of a death sentence.

Four months ago, on April 9th, he died, and on April 10th, we found him. And he had pointed the gun not at someone he was going to apprehend, not to be the hero he wanted to be, but to end his life. I have looked again and again at the photos of his life and seen the vitality, the infectious and joyous smile, the rascally, happy eyes, the humor, and yes, the vulnerability. I've seen the weaponry and the SCA armor, all the trappings of strength and heroic manliness.

And I will always ask why. I will always wonder why the boy who loved guns but never had a real one felt compelled to have a collection of powerful guns as an adult and that one of the last things he did in this life was to purchase another one.

I remember the incredible mind, the piercing intellect, the brilliant insights. I remember the desire to find people smart enough to understand and engage him.

Two days ago we went to the cemetery and visited his grave, though in truth, it isn't a grave, it's a niche in a columbarium. They have put the new marker on it, with the notation of Bosnia as his service in an area of combat. It's all I can do to honor his service, his brotherhood of arms.

It was hard to go there. It's not that I need any reminder. I think of him every day, many, many times. In my mind I see him as he was, tall, imposing, kind brown eyes, a great smile, and masculine but musical laugh. I see him on his cycle, wishing he would come riding up on it. I see him in his Mazda RX-8, and wish he would drive up in that. I see him at his computer desk, with his multiple monitors that he was so proud of and photographed so often. I see him as I found him, dead and cold, and I mourn.

I remember how badly I wanted him, how he felt in my arms as a baby, what an interesting and intelligent child he was.

He lived. Why is he not living still? I know why, but not WHY. That is the endless question that will never go away.

Four months. One third of a year. I'm surviving. I'm coping. But every day brings tears and I want to scream, "I want him back." I know I can't have him, but I still want to scream it.

Thep photo above was taken on November 25, 1985, when we were living in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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