Monday, January 28, 2013

Leif's 38th Birthday

It would have been Leif's 38th birthday today, had he lived. We would have had him come for dinner because he liked to have me make his favorite foods. I think he would have had peach fritters with foamy sauce for sure. He wasn't a big cake lover. Like all the men in our family, he preferred pie, but pie after peach fritters could be a bit much.

Every birthday with him was precious and special. We didn't miss many in his life, only the ones when he was in the army. A long time ago in this blog I posted a photo of each of his birthdays for which we had pictures, but of course not all the pictures. How I wish we had better ones!

This photo was taken the day before his second birthday, at Rocking Horse Country Day School in Charlottesville, Virginia. The kids baked cupcakes and had them with their lunch. Leif, ever the little experimenter, was quite interested in the texture of the cupcake and had to stick his finger in it.

He was still a little blondie at that point. I wonder why it is that many children are blond when they are small and their hair darkens as they get older. By the time Leif was in junior high school, his hair was very dark brown.

In the background you can see the "art wall." Rocking Horse Country Day School had a wall that the kids could draw and color on, post their art projects on, and in general do all the things kids would LIKE to do to walls but aren't supposed to. I thought it was a brilliant idea. They were very good about doing their drawing and scribbling only on THAT wall and not the others. I know it would be hard to give kids a wall like that at home, but maybe hanging a whiteboard or something where they could draw and scribble on the "wall" to their hearts content would help keep them from doing it elsewhere.

Leif hadn't been going to this school for long when this was taken. It was unusual for a day school to take a child that young, but there were several two-year-olds there, probably because their parents needed to find a place they could thrive, too. It was a Montessori school, and it was wonderful for Leif. He was so bright that no matter how much attention and enrichment I gave him at home, it wasn't enough. He was frustrated. When we found the school, he took to it as though he had been searching for it. I will always be grateful to Linda J. for accepting him there.

Today I wish my son a happy birthday. He's not here to celebrate it, but I will remember his birthday, this year and every year.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cars He Would Have Loved

Yesterday we were in Sarasota. The weather was gorgeous, and it seemed to be the day for unusual sports cars to be out. Leif would have loved the neon green McLaren, the yellow Lamborghini (his favorite car color), the green Porsche, and the red Astin Martin we saw. I can never see a beautiful sports car without thinking of him and how much he loved them.

This photo of a Ferrari is one he took at the Chicago Auto Show in February 1987 when he was twelve years old. He loved that car, and so many others he photographed at that show.

There are so many reminders of Leif and the things he loved. We also went to the new James Bond movie, Skyfall, yesterday. He wouldn't have missed it. I wish we could talk with him about it. I miss those lively conversations.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Saturday evening we went to the 50th wedding anniversary of a couple who are neighbors and friends. It was a large gathering, about 300 people, including a few others from our neighborhood, a happy occasion with good food and music.

During the entertainment, Peter Anthony sent me a text message asking what kind of motorcycle Leif had. Peter A. really liked it and wishes he had it. It was Leif's third motorcycle. He sold the first one, a yellow and magenta Yamaha crotch rocket, and the second one, a yellow Suzuki super-fast crotch rocket was stolen. By that time, he was thinking maybe a more comfortable ride would be nice and purchased this used Honda MC 1800cc. It was a beautiful bike and he kept it in pristine condition.

But why did Peter A. ask me that tonight . . . just about the same time that Peter W. said to me that he didn't want to make me sad, but the picture of finding Leif dead in his apartment had come into his mind. Of course, it did make me sad, but I was already thinking of Leif before he said anything. What I was thinking was, "Leif will never have a 50th anniversary party. He will never have ANY anniversary party, never have any children or grandchildren."

On the way home, we were talking about Leif and about what we might do for our 50th anniversary. Peter wants to go on a cruise. I always talked about renewing our vows at the Heidelberg Castle. But the truth is, I'm not sure I want to be with anyone but Peter W. The thing I want most for that anniversary can never be . . . my family intact and whole, and all there with us. We will never have that kind of reunion.

We talked about Leif's sadness and loneliness, the way he would withdraw, the children we wish he had, how we wished he and Nikko had had a successful marriage. They clearly loved each other, but love is not enough to make a marriage work. The "love conquers all" belief just isn't true.

So, it was a pleasant and happy evening, but at the same time, a sad and poignant one, and I still wonder why all three of us thought about Leif at the same time, but in different ways.

As I told Peter W. during the drive home, it has been nearly five years since he died, and I miss him just as much.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Getting Through the Holidays

We celebrated our fifth Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years without Leif. You'd think it would get easier, but it doesn't. It still hurts. I still cry. It still feels as though there is a big, unfilled hole where he should be.

I'm happy, with our son Peter and our granddaughters with us. I enjoy those moments, but when I don't keep my guard up, the sadness and the tears come back. Why can't he be here to share it all with us? Why couldn't he be here with his own children?

I haven't written anything for a long time, mostly because I've had no time. For two months I spent nearly every extra minute I had taking care of my mother after she fractured another vertebra, and when I did have a few minutes, I had so many other things to do. I couldn't bring myself to write on the blog, didn't want to face my feelings any more than I could help it.

Then, yesterday morning, Peter W. turned on the music. He has all his music on Leif's old iPod, and plays it on a iPod player. He played Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever?" I completely broke down. I associate that song so deeply with Leif and his death, with his memorial service, with his sadness and demise, that I can't listen to it without the floodgates opening. It is an incredibly beautiful and sad song, one of the most beautiful I've heard, so poignant and full of emotion.

                                                      "Who Wants To Live Forever"
There's no time for us,
There's no place for us,
What is this thing that builds our dreams, yet slips away from us.
Who wants to live forever,
Who wants to live forever.....?
There's no chance for us,
It's all decided for us,
This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us.
Who wants to live forever,
Who dares to love forever,
When love must die. 
But touch my tears with your lips,
Touch my world with your fingertips,
And we can have forever,
And we can love forever,
Forever is our today,
Who wants to live forever,
Who wants to live forever,
Forever is our today,
Who waits forever anyway?
Who Wants to Live Forever (0fficial Queen Video)

Leif loved this song not only for its music but because it was from the movie "Highlander," which was one of his all time favorites. Here's a link to a history of the song, from Wikipedia:

Who Wants to Live Forever (about the song)

I want him back. I will always want him back.


This photo was taken December 25, 2006. Little did we know we would only have him one more Christmas. He seemed pretty happy that 2006 Christmas. How terribly things went downhill over the following year.