Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Just Want to Hold Him

Will I ever remember the good times without missing him, realizing that there won't be any more, realizing that for him, the good times seemed to be gone forever and that that must be one of the reasons he ended his life?

After I posted last night, or more accurately, in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, I went to get ready for bed and Peter W. asked me why I looked amused. I told him it wasn't amusement; it was looking at the photos and remembering the fun we had as a family, how good it was. He said, "Leif was such a beautiful child." I said, yes, he was, and so was Peter Anthony. I am reminded of that over and over as I look at the thousands (yes, thousands) of photos we took during the forty years since his birth.

I went to bed feeling rather nostalgic, but it was a sweet nostalgia. Then I had one of those nights when I couldn't go to sleep. Peter W. always asks if I'm worrying about something but no, like my mother, I'm just awake. i think there is an insomnia gene in our family. For a long time, I was just awake, not thinking about anything in particular, not worrying about anything, but then I started thinking about all the things I have to be thankful for. I've read and seen programs that say that basically counting our blessings increases happiness, and I'm trying to do that.

However, some time after four a.m. I came back to the thought that haunts me when I think about my family and all I have to be thankful for; that my family is now incomplete and will always have a giant hole in it where Leif should be. It's hard to be only thankful when something so deeply important and beloved is not only missing, but ripped away violently. I started remembering finding him dead on his kitchen floor and how badly I just wanted to hold him, hold him and not let anyone take him away.

Of course that was not to be. I couldn't even touch him or anything else at the scene. All I could do was call the sheriff and wait there to be put out of the apartment while they did their investigation. Wait outside while the body of my dead son lay up there on the floor, and then was brought out in a body bag. I never saw him again after that glimpse into the kitchen. I never got to hold him and say goodbye. I held him when he came into this world but I couldn't hold him when he left it.

I ache for him. I ache to hold him. I ache for the goodbye I never got to say. I ache for the pain he suffered.

And although it has been nearly seventeen months since he died, there are still nights when I cry myself to sleep. Last night was one of them. How quickly happy memories can evaporate into sad ones.

This photo of Leif and me was taken at the Tegernsee, a lake in southern Germany, in August 1979 when Leif was four and a half years old.

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