Was I ever that young? Was he ever that small?
This picture was taken on the sun porch of the old stone house in Manhattan, Kansas on February 9, 1975, when Leif was only 12 days old. He was a big baby, but still so small.
I was worn out, but I was happy. I had Peter W., Peter A. (who was six years old) and Leif. Life seemed so complete and so full of the future and hope.
i haven't posted on this blog for a long time, but it's not because I haven't been thinking of Leif, not because I haven't missed him. Thinking of him and missing him are with me every day. Sometimes it's harder than others.
It was a joy to have Peter A. and his family here for a visit, the house full of the seven of us, lots of activity, lots of hugs and love, lots of fun, but it was all so bittersweet. I couldn't help but remember the times Leif had been there with all of us, couldn't help thinking how much he would have enjoyed going go-karting with them, racing his brother around the track. I couldn't help but think about the grandchildren I would never have from him. In an odd sort of way, having them all here made his death even harder, even while their visit kept me busy and distracted, with no time to write.
When they left, I didn't have the heart. I thought, I shouldn't just write something sad; people will think I'm pathological, that I should be over his death by now . . . even though every mother and father I've ever talked to who lost a child said they NEVER get over it. They just learn to keep living. They learn to deal with the sadness when it breaks through. I guess I am pretty much there, but those days are hard.
Tonight I looked at the Picasa albums of all the photos on this blog, over a thousand of them, and then the tears just came, again, like they did when I was talking to Peter A. when he was here, about how hard it is to know that my son was so unhappy he took his own life.
A few days ago, driving home from my mother's house late at night, I found myself asking Leif (expecting no answer) whether it had been hard to make the decision to die, whether it was hard to pull the trigger, whether he had to get really drunk to make himself do it . . . or did he do it because he was drunk and not thinking clearly? What did he think about those last minutes of his life? Did he think of us? Of his lost love? Of all the dreams he had that had turned to dust? Of his pain and sorrow? Or did he just think about how to load the gun and how to hold it so it would do the job completely?
Those are morbid thoughts, but they are the kind of thoughts the mother of a son who shoots himself thinks, though thankfully not all the time!
i also think about how his little baby body felt in my arms, how warm, how sweet he smelled, how his eyes were so alert and searching out everything, especially loving bright colors, how he loved to be held, loved me to sing to him, which I did every night when i put him to bed for at least the first ten years of his life.
i think about how much I miss his conversation, his laugh, his smile, the baby smile and the little boy smile, the teen smile and the rascally young man smile, the grown man smile. I miss his curiosity, his knowledge of technology.
I remember his quirky sense of humor and how he loved "The Mind of Mencia" and George Carlin.
I remember how he loved Orson Scott Card's Ender series.
I remember how he loved beautiful cars all his life.
I remember his beautiful brown eyes.
Soon it will be 29 months since he died. I will never forget, never stop missing him.