I was always worried about Leif having guns, worried about some accident happening, worried about his depression. He laughed at my fears and tried to teach me about guns. He got his concealed carry license here in Florida, which scared me still further, but my concern was primarily about accidents. I worried about his fast motorcycle and car driving, too.
I had never liked my sons playing with guns and never bought toy guns for them, but like most boys, they were fascinated with them, particularly Leif. He had some Japanese air guns he loved as a kid, and his father liked posing like James Bond with those "toy" guns. Leif did, too. The image was something they both appreciated, debonair, powerful.
But Leif had always liked guns, toys or real, and this photo is of him playing with one and pretending when he was in Tokyo, Japan on October 1982. He was seven years old. Little did I know when I took this photo that someday he would shoot himself in the head, that guns would no longer be fun, but the instrument of his death.
He died in the wee hours of April 9, 2008, two years ago, alone in his kitchen, drunk, after spending the evening with his friend Michael and another fellow. He gave no hint that he was thinking of killing himself and we will never know whether he was planning it or whether it was a spur of the moment decision.
We will never know whether he might still be alive but for the terrible combination of a new pistol and too much rum and Coke.
We will never know what made him unhappy or desperate enough to do it.
We will never even know whether it could have been some terrible, stupid accident (though I doubt that).
We will never know what his life could have become had he lived.
We will miss him all our days.