The mind is a strange thing. It has it's own logic and memory in dreams and creates stories and realities all it's own. And it apparently does not accept death. I say that, because although my father died in 1960, I still occasionally dream about him, and it is never in the past. It's always in the present, and he is an old man. He's been lost, and I've found him.
I don't often remember my dreams, but I woke and remembered I had dreamed about Leif a few days ago. It was a vivid dream, though the details quickly grew misty. In my dream, Leif was a young adult, maybe in his mid-twenties. He had gone on a trip with us somewhere (as he often did) and for some reason he didn't what to go wherever I was going, in a strange city. Like so many dream locations, it was not someplace real, not someplace I have ever actually been.
So he took off on his own, so like him. I was wandering around a business area looking for something, met some friends, and we went to dinner. Leif called me on our cell phones and he sounded lost. Not physically lost. He knew where he was, but he didn't know where I was and what I was doing, and he was suddenly lonesome and sad. He asked, "Why does everything have to turn out wrong?"
I remember feeling bad for him in this dream, and telling him how to come join us for dinner.
That's all I remember of the dream, except for a few details about how the location looked, but the dream seems significant and telling to me. Leif wandering around alone, asking why things turned out badly. And alive.
Perhaps I have dreamed of his death. Perhaps I have dreamed of my dad's death. If so, I have not remembered those dreams. So far, in the only ones I ever remember they are alive. Not happy. Not well, but alive. And so real.
I find myself now thinking of Leif more and more as a child and not as the man he was when he died. Why is that? Is that because he was "mine" then? Is it because those were happier days? It is because in those days I could solve the problems and keep our family whole? Is it because he was such a beautiful child?
I don't know. He was a man nearly as long as he was a child, in his years on this earth, and when I picture him and am not looking at photos, I picture his tall frame coming through my front door.
So many memories, good ones, bad ones, happy and sad ones, but he lives only in my dreams.
This photo of Leif and me was taken in Hawaii in 1983, he was eight-and-a-half years old.