Friday, June 14, 2013


Leif was funny. He was whimsical. He was silly. He was a cut-up. At least, he was all of those things when he wasn't morose, withdrawn or depressed. How well I remember the times when he was enjoying himself and having fun acting silly.

These days, I seem to alternate between sadness and missing him, and smiling over memories like this one.

He graduated from Kansas State University in May 2003, ten years after he graduated from high school. It took him that long because he spent a part of those years in the U.S. Army.

He came home from the army in 2001 a depressed and broken man, but by the time he graduated from KSU, he was so much healthier in mind and body. He was looking good, feeling good, felt he had a future. I think he was at his handsomest in that year of 2003, and my favorite photos of him are from that year.

It was also the year in which he met J. and was so very much in love, and I'm sure that also helped account for his happiness and glowing good looks that fall, though in this cute picture, he had not yet met her.

It was taken in the back yard of our old stone house. He was acting silly with the tassel on his graduation cap, blowing on it and letting it settle on and tickle his nose. I love the look on his face, looking at the tassel as he gently blows on it, the ends of it splayed around his nose, and that hint of a smile with the cute dimples just showing. How I WISH he could have continued to be that happy, whimsical, silly man. 

Monday, June 3, 2013


This week, our granddaughter, Madeleine, Leif's niece, will graduate from high school. I was thinking today about all the graduations that have taken place in our family, beginning with my parents, and how much hope, pride, gratitude and expectation are part of all that surrounds the event.

When Leif graduated from Manhattan High School in 1993, he was already taking classes at Kansas State University. He was the "cool dude," the one with the RX-7 (used) sports car, the one with a cell phone (very unusual at that time, and he paid the bills himself), the one with the long leather coat and the long luxurious hair that the guys hated and the girls loved.

High school was not an easy time for Leif. He had many ups and downs, as so many teens do. He was shy, but had to adjust to three different high schools. He fell in love, deeply, but it was not reciprocated. He had parts in two musicals and found he could sing and make the girls scream, but he couldn't get and keep the one(s) he wanted. He had his first job and earned his first paychecks, but squandered the money. He managed to get through school with minimal effort but not know what to do with his life.

But that day in 1993 when he graduated from high school, he was happy and we were proud. I think he thought life was going to get better, and be easier, and he would shine. I wish that had happened for him.