It's so terribly hard to believe that this is the first anniversary of the last day Leif was alive and that what we know of that day makes it so hard to understand how he could have been planning suicide. If he was, he gave no one any indication of it.
It was a Tuesday, his day off. It's hard to reconstruct the part of the day before evening when he was with his friend Michael, and Jaime. I didn't have any contact with him except for two emails in the evening which were part of a group discussion. The only way to try to figure out what he did in the last three days of his life is from his email, text messages and bank statement. Unfortunately, the debits don't always post on the day they were spent, so although several things posted on April 8th, they may not have happened then. For instance, the Neverwinter Nights game he purchased on Sunday, April 6th showed up on his bank statement on Tuesday, April 8th. It seems that several purchases showed up two days later. Originally, we thought he purchased an expensive pair of shoes on the 8th but it might have been on the same trip to the mall when he went to the Apple store on the 6th. We found the shoe box but not the shoes in his apartment, so he must have been wearing them when he died.
He played Dungeons and Dragons with Donna and friends on Sunday, April 6th and was invited to do so again the following Sunday.
His tax refund was deposited in his bank account on April 3rd and he paid his rent for the month of April, and it debited on April 7th.
He filled up his car's gas tank, with the debit hitting his bank account on April 10th, after he was already dead.
During those days he spent money on food and alcohol, too.
But what we do know about April 8th for sure is that he purchased a 45 caliber Springfield XD X-Ray Delta pistol and ammunition with his debit card. According to Donna, it was not a spur-of-the-moment purchase, but one he had ordered and been waiting for for months. He was very glad to finally get it. A gun purchase was not unusual for Leif. He had purchased and sold many guns over the years and still had several in his possession.
That evening he sent two email messages as part of an ongoing discussion among Peter A., Dave, Darren and me ranging over topics as disparate as the "ultimate watch" and customer service. These last two messages were in response to an email by Peter A. about a YouTube video of "Das Omen").
Leif wrote at 7:38 p.m., "I just want to know WHO did the music. Sound kinda like Rammstein but more techno, less metal. Either way I want it."
At 8:19 p.m. he wrote, "Found it. It is a German group called 'E Nomine.' Here are some of their videos on YouYube. Hard to find the music. iTunes does not have it. I just put in a request for iTunes to get it. Amazon does but it's about $35 an album." (He sent the YouTube and Amazon.com links.)
That was the last thing I ever heard from him. He was part of the discussion and then he just dropped out. It didn't sound as though he wasn't planning on being around if he was asking iTunes to get music he wanted. The music was very dark and occult with lyrics in German that translated as, "You are the power, the everlasting prophecy, you are the Omen!" "Open the gates to the dark regions . . . " I sent him that translation in email in between his two posts. That music fit in well with what he liked at the time.
The reason he dropped out of the discussion was that his friend Michael arrived after picking up Jaime at the airport and they wanted to go over to the Tally Ho Pub across the street for beer. They were there for a few hours before they went back to Leif's apartment. Leif had all of his guns out of the safe and they were examining them. Michael said Leif was very proud of his new Springfield pistol. The guns were unloaded, but when Jaime pointed a gun in a manner Leif felt was unsafe, Michael says Leif lectured him on gun safety. Jaime protested that the gun was unloaded, but Leif said that he should always consider a gun in his house to be loaded and treat it safely.
Since Michael had a long drive home and they had to get on the road, he said he and Jaime stopped drinking but Leif continued to drink rum and Coke. Leif was a big man used to drinking a lot and he could hold a lot of alcohol without showing evidence of being drunk.
Michael and Jaime left in the wee hours of the morning, somewhere around 2 or 3 a.m. on Wednesday, April 9th. Leif was mobile and lucid, able to walk and talk, and seemed all right when they left. That is the last time anyone saw Leif alive as far as we know.
The pensive photo with this post is one of a series of self-portraits Leif took on April 26, 2003 when he was living in the 710 N. 9th Street house in Manhattan, Kansas. They were taken in that house. He was 28 years old.