Wednesday, August 26, 2009
There are nights when I don't know what to write, when my mind seems to go off in too many different directions, or when I can't find the right photo to go with what I want to say. I started out looking at more of the things Leif wrote in high school and college, and wishing I had more of them, but realized that wasn't really what was on my mind.
I thought this evening about how many years of my life were influenced by Leif; eighteen years raising him to adulthood, and another two while he was still living at home and going to college before he moved out to live with Nikko and eventually get married in October 1995 at the age of twenty. I thought about all the experiences we had together, how I taught him, and eventually, how he taught me. I thought about the things he loved, and the things he hated. I thought about all the times we took him on trips, both as a child and as an adult, and what good company he could be, and usually was . . . unless he was in one of his uncommunicative moods, but luckily those were not frequent.
I thought about all the talents he had that he never had the desire to pursue and all the ideas he had and loved to talk about. I thought about how he would spend hours trying to make a report or paper as short and concise as possible so that it would only barely fulfill the length requirements set by the professor or teacher, not because he lacked the information or knowledge to make it longer but because he didn't want to be verbose. He could have been done with them far quicker if he hadn't continued to condense and condense.
I thought about tutoring him in algebra, Spanish and German, the first two in both high school and college, because he was used to things coming easily to him that he hated to study and didn't really know how.
I thought about listening to him play his electric guitars, trying to emulate the sounds of his favorite guitarists.
I thought about him singing the part of Kenicke in "Grease" with all the girls going wild.
I remember the day he brought me my Nokia cell phone in a cute little bag and proceeded to set it up for me. And the time he got my mother her first cell phone (with my financial help) and surprised her with it for Christmas,
There are so many memories, thirty-three years of them, mostly good, some frustrating, some dismaying, but all-in-all, how much he enriched our lives (not financially, but emotionally and intellectually), and even with much humor and fun. I look around this room alone and see the office furniture that he and Peter W. put together for me, the computer he left behind, the monitor he set up for me, his photo albums, the flag case from Melissa with his casket flag and military awards, the book he posed for the cover for, and so much more.
Our lives were intertwined, as all close families are, and even now that he is gone, there is no day, no part of a day, that we don't think of him.
I wonder if he had any idea how important he was to us, how deep an impact he had on our lives, what a tremendous hole his death has left, how much we will always love him. Surely he could not have known that and left us like that . . . or was his life just too miserable to endure despite it? I cry for him, that it was so.
This photo of Leif was taken at a lake in Japan in 1980 when he was five years old.