Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Leif's 33rd and Last Birthday - Sun City Center, Florida - January 28, 2008 - Age 33

It's hard to believe or accept that Leif won't be coming tonight for dinner, for his birthday, that I won't be making some favorite food he requested, or wrapping a present for him. Today is the first birthday of his since his death and it brings such a mixture of emotions, happy memories, and terrible sense of loss and grief.

These are photos of Leif's last birthday, January 28, 2008. They were taken in our dining room. Leif was trying to lose weight and was on the Atkins Diet, so he couldn't have his favorite fritters with foamy sauce, or tonkatsu, or some of his other favorites like potetkage or cherry pie. Instead, Peter W. made filet mignon and scallops with a green salad and I put birthday candles in the filets!

Leif brought his laptop and iPhone with him, and he was fascinated with installing new programs and talking with his friend Justin on the phone after dinner. Then he opened his birthday gifts. We gave him an inexpensive pocket digital camera he'd wanted, but I don't think he ever used it My mother was with us, too, and he is smiling as he reads a note from her.

We had some good discussions, but he didn't stay late that night as he had to get up and go to work in the morning. I'm glad I took the photos, though he wasn't particularly cooperative about it. I finally cajoled him into smiling. In the little screen on my digital camera, it looked like a really good shot of him. That's the one that's both in this post and on the right side at the top of the blog. But, when I loaded it onto my computer, I just cried. I told Peter W. that something was very wrong. I could see in Leif's eyes in that photo that he was unhappy, could see it directly in a way that I couldn't see it when he was talking and animated. I told Peter W. that we needed to stay close to Leif and in contact, that he was unhappy and lonely. We only saw him alive two more times, and the last time, on Easter, he seemed happy and relaxed. I hoped things were better for him as they seemed to be, and yet less than three weeks later he was dead.

Little did we know it was his last birthday. I'm thankful we spent it together.

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