Thursday, October 9, 2008
Six Months of Missing Our Son
Today it is six months since we found Leif and the world of our family was forever changed. I miss him as much today, more, than I did in April. As the days go by, the reality, the finality slowly sets in.
In the movies, on television, death and dealing with it more or less ends with a funeral or the reading of a will. People's lives go on, as though that chapter were finished. In real life, it's not like that. We have to deal every day with the changes, the emotions, the enormous loss.
And, we have to deal with all of the tasks that go with settling the affairs of the loved one who is no longer there. This can take months, years. The myriad details eat away time and open wounds. There are all the belongings to take care of, sell, give away. There are all the financial issues to take care of, the legal ones. The mail that comes for someone now gone, everything from the ubiquitous credit card offers and magazine subscriptions to personal mail that needs to be answered.
With a death like Leif's, there are still issues concerning how he died. The detective's completed investigation just arrived, bringing with it little new information except that now I can see what was done while we had to wait outside in our car, wondering what they were doing in the apartment with our son after we called 911.
The holidays are coming, the first Thanksgiving and Christmas we will face without Leif. We are thankful we have more loving family to spend them with.
I read a horrifying statistic a few days ago, that in 1870 common diseases took the lives of half of all urban infants in the USA before their first birthday. Many more would not make it to adulthood. Modern medicine that can vaccinate children against most of those diseases has made it less common for parents to have to face the death of a child, but I have discovered that there are still many of us who have to live with this pain, and when they find out about our loss, they are willing to talk about theirs.
My heart has always gone out to anyone who loses a loved one, especially a child, especially a son or daughter in the military, but now I know, really know, what that loss means. We are many.
Unfortunately, such deaths are part of life.
This photo was taken on a hike in the mountains in Japan in June 1982. Peter Anthony was 13 and Leif was 7 years old. It was taken by one of Jerri's Japanese friends who took us on the hike in a beautiful rural area. As always, Peter W. has his protective loving arms around his family, but there comes a time when we can no longer protect our children.