Monday, May 11, 2009

Leif's Memorial Service at St. Petersburg Unitarian Universalist Church - April 29, 2008 - "My Friend, My Brother, Is Gone" - Jason Palenske (Video))

One of Leif's long-time best friends was Jason Palenske who came from Manhattan, Kansas to be with us for Leif's memorial services. Leif and Jason met in their senior year of high school. They shared many interests, Cyberpunk gaming, role-playing game development, Society for Creative Anachronism, motorcycles, and more. Jason refers to growing apart. It happens to so many of our friendships. Jason was married and had children, while Leif was divorced and alone. A married man has so many responsibilities and so little time. But there was always friendship and affection there. We were very touched that Jason came to be with us and gave his son Brayden, born March 4th, the middle name Leif.

Jason wrote a part of the remarks he read at the memorial service on his MySpace page on April 14. I found them meaningfl and touching and I asked him to read them at Leif's service. Jason did that for me, for us, and added to them. I have been profoundly grateful for the continuing contact with Jason and his wife, Melissa, who gave us the beautiful flag case for Leif's military honors flag.

"My Friend, My Brother, Is Gone" by Jason Palenske

I was trying to make it through the day...

Not understanding why, not knowing what I could have done to make things better, not knowing how I could have helped...

Then for a moment I saw you again, saw you riding the wheels of a stranger, but then your hand reached out...

I wanted to follow, I wanted to turn around and ride, ride until there was no where else to go. I can't follow you this time, you're riding somewhere I can't go yet...not yet.

My dad once said a person is lucky to have 5 true friends in their life, and as you drove me to his funeral I told you you were one of mine. I made mistakes though, I made one of the worst mistakes a friend can make. I went down the wrong road and didn't make sure you were there. I didn't make sure that we didn't drift farther and farther apart.

I took the wrong road and now I can never get back...

I want to be able to call, I want to say "Why aren't you here?", I want to here the surprise and then that mocking tone "I am here, but where are you, I'll be there in a minute."

I am here my friend, I am'll be awhile before I get there though. I've got things to finish here first, then, then I can be there. So be patient my friend, my brother, be patient. I'll be there soon enough, it just may take awhile.

My brother is gone and I can't fill the void that he left...not yet, not yet.

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