Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thoughts on Leif's Fortieth Birthday

If Leif had lived, January 28, 2015 would have been his fortieth birthday. It will be over in just a minute, before I finish this post. I've thought of him all day. We didn't spent the day the way we wanted to. We wanted to go to the cemetery to honor him, but this was the day the house painter decided to show up to finish the job, so we were stuck. It was also the day to deal with other issues that came up unexpectedly, so both of us were sad, both because of Leif, and because we didn't get to go to Bay Pines.

It seems that for several years, something has always come up on his birthday to keep us from going there, and that makes me feel bad, as though I can't manage to take time on his birthday to be there. It's not that I think he's "there" wondering why. It's that I want to go there for me. I want to spend time away from other distractions. Yet it seems that nearly every year since the year after he died, something else has distracted us on his birthday. Even my computer wouldn't publish this post and I had to copy it to a different browser.

We talked this morning about Leif and my father, and how they were alike and different, and how I wished Leif had lived long enough to have a family. He lived thirteen years less than my father did.

Leif's birthday was a happy day for me. I was so glad he was born and part of our family. He brought so much into our lives. I looked at a lot of photos of him today, at all the things we did together over the years.

But the last couple of days I have found myself haunted by the same old questions that have haunted me from the day we found his body. Why? What happened? I still cannot fathom it. The detective thought it was accidental. The medical examiner that did the autopsy thought it was a suicide because it was a contact wound. But I still can't even understand how things transpired, how the gun was where it was on the counter, as though he had been standing by it and dropped it, yet there was no blood on the counter.

I still don't understand how someone who had been carrying on an animated email discussion with several people during the evening, all about designing the perfect smart watch, and who was looking up a German band online and sending requests to Amazon to get their music, who went home with his best friend and was socializing him and another man until the wee hours of the morning, would suddenly not be around to get that music.

I still don't understand why someone contemplating suicide would pay his rent, put gas in his car, get new shoes, a new video game, and a new gun.

Could it have been an accident? As I've written before, it's hard to believe that of someone as well trained in firearms as he was. Surely he wouldn't have been stupid enough to put a loaded gun to his head and play with the trigger? On the other hand, he was drunk and high. Who knows what kind of stupid game he might have played with his brand new gun. Maybe the trigger pulled a little easier than he thought.

Could it have been murder? By whom? The door was bolt locked. Someone would have had to have the key, and his keys were sitting on his desk. And why would they leave the weapon? Who would have had a motive? The detective did not find anything suspicious.

I know it's not about logic. I still think the things I know point to suicide, that the things that happened after March 22nd became too much, and maybe he made a spur of the moment decision to do it.

Would I feel any better if I knew? Probably not. It won't bring him back. But at least the eternal questioning would be over.

I find myself going from smiling at photos of him I love, to crying over his death and missing him. I am grateful for those that remembered him on his birthday, my sisters, Nikko, cousins. I don't want any of us to forget him, that he lived, that we loved him, and he loved us.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Contrast in Memorial Services

Yesterday we went to a memorial service for a friend and neighbor who died on December 24th. It was a good celebration of his life, and we learned a lot about him we hadn't known, saw his children and grandchildren, knew he'd had a good 87 years.

I found it hard to be there in several ways. It brought back memories of Leif's memorial service, and the contrast in their lives; Leif, who died at 33 by his own hand, with no wife and no children, lonely. John, who had a heart attack but had a life of verve and action with a loving wife, children, stepchildren he took as his own, grandchildren and great-granchildren.

The two of them had some things in common, a love of sailboating and SCUBA, being on the water.

How I wish Leif could have lived a life that long, that productive, and that happy. I know no life is completely and universally happy. We all have challenges and unhappy moments. But when we look back over our lives, how much better it would be to say we have lived our lives well.

It was such a contrast in the two services. John's was full of good, and even funny, memories accomplishments. No one had to speculate on why he was dead. Leif's was full of sadness for his loneliness and depression, trying to understand who he was and why he was no longer with us.

I still miss Leif every day of my life. I still wish he were here, and happy, and healthy, and had a family. I will never stop wishing it.