Sunday, May 31, 2009
He's a part of so many conversations . . .
Leif is so much a part of us. Almost anywhere we go, we think of him. If we are at a restaurant, we comment on what he would have ordered (lobster, if it was on the menu!). If movies come out, we know what he would have been eagerly waiting to see and how he would have talked about them from every angle, acting, story, special effects. He would have been anxious to see the new Star Trek movie, Terminator: Salvation, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He would have been vitally interested in what's transpiring with our American auto manufacturers, the political scene, the appointment of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. We would have had stimulating conversations on every one of them, and when we talk about them now, we include his ideas, "Leif would have said," or "Leif would have been so interested in that."
Yesterday we went over to Disney World and visited the Hollywood Studios park. Leif would have loved the Endor Space Shuttle simulator and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. That one he saw in 1990 when we took him to Disney World on our through Florida when we were moving to Puerto Rico, but it's been updated since then and the stadium covered. We remember being there in beastly heat. But even more than that, he would have loved the Disney Extreme Stunt Show "Lights, Motors, Action!™" That was quintessentially Leif . . . fast cars being driven to their limits, spinning around, burning rubber, jumping ramps, racing in and out of tight turns, crotch rocket motorcycles doing the same . . . with the drivers and riders shooting at each other. Fast cars, fast cycles and guns. As Peter A. said, the only thing missing was a gorgeous redhead. While Peter W. and I were watching the show, I said, "Leif not only would have loved this, he would have been asking how to apply for a job." Getting paid to drive like that and shoot a gun would have had enormous appeal to him, at least for awhile.
We see the world through a different filter now. We always would have thought about how Leif would have enjoyed something, or what he would have thought and contributed to the conversation, but now we know it's only our minds that will bring those things, that he won't be there, and as Peter A. said, "it is a tremendous loss." It is. That kind of loss changes you. You realize emotionally what you only knew intellectually before . . . how fragile life is, how easily you can lose someone you love, and how hard that is to bear. You miss not only the person and their company, but their intellectual and humorous contributions to your life, and your opportunity to contribute to theirs. You miss their affection and giving it to them. There isn't a situation in which they aren't considered just as much as when they were alive, but it's all tinged with sadness that they are not longer there. Something vital and important is missing.
That will never change, but despite that, remembering is good. I cannot be one of those people who shuts off the memories and doesn't talk about their lost loved one because of the pain. I would rather have the pain and have the memories.
I love this photo of Leif because he looks so joyful, like he is really enjoying himself. I wish I had seen that in the last years of his life. This was taken at our old stone house in Manhattan, Kansas on July 29, 2004. We were all sitting around our dining room table having a great conversation and drinking Leif's favorite beverage, beer, out of his dad's German mugs. He was animated and full of fun. It was a great group for that. In addition to Peter W. and me, Peter A., Darlene and Marcus were there, and Leif's friend Michael. What I wouldn't give for another evening like that!