When I was singing with the German American Chorus at the Lutheran church service in German last Sunday, Pastor Stiller's sermon was about finding the joy in Christmas, and was particularly directed at those who don't have that joy and belief in their lives. Although it was a good acknowledgement of the difficulty some people have being happy during the holidays whether through grief, sadness, depression or loss, and a message of why it is important to be childlike in our faith and joy, it did not create that in me. I still miss Leif and it still hurts. There will always be that sadness in the holidays, the reminders that he isn't with us.
That doesn't mean I don't enjoy Christmas or the preparations for it. As I've written before, there comes a time when joy and sadness coexist. It's an odd mixture and I can cycle from happy anticipation and busy-ness to sadness in seconds.
I was thinking, for instance, about the gifts we are giving, and what we would have given Leif this year, had he been still alive, what foods he would have wanted for the Christmas celebrations, how his towering frame would have filled the door when he came in.
Today, I saw this report of a multi-car crash in Japan, involving eight Ferraris and a Lamborghini. I knew Leif would have had plenty to say about that! He loved those cars and photographed them whenever he saw them. He had a toy model Lamborghini he'd kept since childhood. The photo above is one he took of a Lamborghini Countach at an auto show in Chicago in February 1987. I'll never see an exotic sports car without thinking of Leif.