Friday, September 28, 2012

Little Leif in Wolframs-Eschenbach

I love this whimsical photo of Leif. He was rarely coquettish like this. He had a great smile, and liked to act silly, but was often serious. This is an unusual. It wasn't windy, so his hair just flew that way when he quickly put his head on the side. I was lucky to catch it.

The picture was taken in the town of Wolframs-Eschenbach, near Ansbach, in August 1977. Leif was two-and-a-half years old. At the time, we had just moved to Germany and were living in Fuerth, next to Nurnberg, and this was a day trip. However, a year later we lived closer to this down when we lived in Sachsen bei Ansbach. It's a quaint town with a lot of medieval architecture still in existence.

The boys enjoyed our outings, as we surely did. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Lotus Leif Would Have Loved

When we were in Germany in June, we saw this gorgeous Lotus. Leif would have loved this car. We all remarked on that. It also brought memories of the James Bond car, the model that Leif has such a fit over because we wouldn't buy it in Innsbruck (I've told that story on the blog before), but I think this car is more beautiful.

It's a small vehicle. I wouldn't want to drive it. It would be hard to get into, and I was trying to imagine Leif folding his 6'2" frame down into that low, small car, but I bet he would have done it if he ever had the chance. About the only thing that would have made it better in his eyes would be a yellow paint job.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Leif's Email to Hillary Clinton in August 2007

Leif cared deeply about our country, HIS country, the country he served as an infantryman. He liked taking political science and history courses, something he had in common with his dad.

During the 2007 political season, when it looked as though Hillary Clinton would probably get the Democratic nomination for the presidency, he wrote the email below to her, thinking the winning ticket would be a Clinton-Obama ticket.

He found both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to be exciting political contenders, for different reasons. I think it's interesting that he felt Obama wasn't ready for the Presidency at that time.

He didn't live long enough to see what actually happened, either with the nomination or the election. I wonder what he would have thought about it and the government that came to pass.

Strangely enough, Leif was among the victims of the recession of 2007 (as well as his own poor budget and spending choices), though he didn't live to find out the depth of the economic downturn. He would have had a great deal to say about it, as well as the situation in which the newly elected Obama would find himself in January 2008.

Now his letter to Hillary is an interesting piece of history.

The photo is one Leif took of himself with his iPhone, in his motorcycle gear. I think it was in the parking lot of the building where he worked, in October or November 2007.


August 2, 2007

Dear Mrs. Clinton,
I am writing to you to express some observations for the Democrat's failures in the last election and hope to see you rise above them. In past elections I have seen both parties compete for their nominations based on who was the most Democratic of Republicans. Largely the most electable candidate in the last election, General Clark, was defeated. He wasn't liberal enough for Democrats so we  chose Kerry who was too liberal to win the swing vote. A mistake, as  Clark would certainly have been preferable to another four years of Bush, but he wasn't  left wing enough to win the nomination. 

The republicans are not making this same mistake, as they are likely to nominate Mr Giuliani, who is the most  moderate of the Republicans. Were they to follow the folly of the 2004 Democratic nomination, they would have an ultra conservative as a frontrunner. But I digress.

The point I really want to make is that I sincerely hope that while competing with Senator Obama that you do not become too adversarial, so that you could not consider him an ally and a possible running mate.

One cannot deny the power and broad appeal of a Hillary/Obama ticket with a woman and a black man. That alone would be a powerful force at the polls. But beyond the superficial appeal of such demographics, let us look at the merits of such a pairing.   

Recently the news has been full of stories of the squabble between yourself and Sen. Obama over your description of his ideas as naive and his criticism of you as being too similar to the failed policies of Bush. To be honest, I think you are both right. Obama is a bit naive and you are a bit too indoctrinated into the broken system of  Washington. 

What I as a voter and a citizen say is that instead of having an adversarial relationship with each other, which claims one or the other is right, would we all not be better served by a combination of such views.? If there is one thing that America is sick of it's is a cabinet full of Bush "yes men." 

As a citizen, I hate our president for firing or  ousting or forcing the retirement of every cabinet member or senior general that did not share his vision of the new world order. The President is the boss and as the boss he, or hopefully SHE, will be secure in knowing that she can be the boss regardless of whether everyone  agrees with her or not. You could select a weak yes man of a running mate or you could reinforce the strength of character for which you are known by selecting Senator Obama as your running mate.

Why? You have said that his ideas and policies are naive and that he lacks experience. You are surely the most qualified for the job of President and you may very well be correct about him. However, his idealism might be a valuable voice in your cabinet, and while Senator Obama might not be ready to be president in 2008, imagine the president he could be in 2016 after serving 8 years as Vice President to a woman that shared the White House for 8 years with her husband.

So, Mrs. Clinton, I ask you to consider the long view and the short. In the short term, no ticket could be more powerful than Clinton/Obama. He will bring idealism to balance your more cynical image. You wik carry him to the White House and to 8 years of preparation for the day that he will be the first Black President.

So chose your words and battles wisely Mrs. Clinton. And never forget that most profound of truths that says no matter your differences, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," as should be Senator Obama.

Best of luck,
Leif Garretson.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Missing Him So

I wonder what it is that triggers sadness and missing Leif again so much, as I have been in the last week. Next Sunday it will be four years and five months since he died. There are days when I'm busy and life is full and it doesn't hurt so much, but the sadness rolls back.

I think perhaps it's because of the election season. The last time around, before the actual nominating conventions, we had such lively discussions about the candidates and policies. He was writing email letters Hillary Clinton (as he had to General Wesley Clark in 2003). I probably miss him a lot right now because I know if he were here we'd be hearing a lot from him about the election and issues. It makes the hole in our lives so much more evident.

I know it's not my fault he isn't here, but I will always feel that I failed him, failed to help him, failed to keep him alive.

I look at this darling picture, taken by my sister, Sherie, in July 1976 when he was a year-and-a-half old, and he seems to happy, so carefree. I wish I had some scrap of hope that his adult life held any happiness for him.

I've thought a thousand times about why a death like Leif's, a suicide, is so very very hard, and I think that on top of the loss and grief we would have over the death of a child, our son, there are the dual burdens of knowing how unhappy he was and that we couldn't help him, that he died alone and uncomforted, cut off even from our love in that moment of death when he didn't reach out to anyone for help.

I can't have this beautiful little boy back. I can't have the handsome young man back. I can't even have the sad and depressed man back for a second chance to help make it right.