Saturday, January 30, 2016

Another birthday passed

January 28th would have been Leif's 41st birthday if he were still alive. The last birthday he had was January 28th, 2008, and he spent it with us. In the years since he died, I've wanted to spend his birthday with Peter, remembering him, doing something he would have enjoyed, but several times that was not to be, as I ended up having to spend the day with Mom at the hospital or rehab, or at a doctor's appointment.

This time, we were able to go to the Beach House Restaurant on Anna Maria Island for lunch, and remember how much he loved the sea. It was a gray, rainy, foggy day, not the sunshine we had hoped for, but we were together, and we talked of Leif, his life, his death, and how much he is still a daily part of our lives. I got through the day okay, but cried myself to sleep. I still miss him so much!

I would have written a blog post on his birthday but somehow I just couldn't deal with it. I didn't want to put into words what I was feeling, partly because I wanted avoid the pain of it, and partly because it seemed I really didn't have anything new to say.

Peter looked at photos of Leif on this blog, and made one of them his profile photo on Facebook, once of my all time favorites of the two of them, when they were walking in the woods in Charlottesville, and Leif was looking so surprised and cute on his dad's back. I chose this birthday photo partly because it, also, was taken in Charlottesville, on Leif's second birthday, January 28, 1977. He looks so little and cuddly. It was an almond cake, homemade, not fancy, but tasty. We were in the dining area of our kitchen in the townhouse we rented.

It's going to soon be eight years since Leif died. I can't fathom how it can have been that long. It seems like yesterday he was sitting at our kitchen table.

So much is happening in the world right now that would interest him, movies, television shows, world affairs, politics. He would be so interesting to talk with, to share with. I miss that chance. I miss his text messages. I miss his laugh. I miss his bear hugs. I miss wishing him happy birthday.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Star Wars - Missing Leif at the Movie

Yesterday we went to see Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens. We saw it in IMAX 3D, and it was magnificent. It was gripping all the way through, and it had all the classic elements of the tale of freedom against tyranny. It brought back the original stars, and scattered throughout were so many visual and plot references to the earlier films. The special effects were spectacular, and seeing it that large in 3D made it far more so. I enjoyed every minute of it, but at several points throughout the movie I had tears in my eyes or even rolling down my cheeks because I thought how much Leif would have loved it and he wasn't there to share it with.

Originally, we had hoped to go see it with Peter Anthony and Darren, which would have been great full for old times sake, though I would still have missed sharing with with Leif, too, and would have cried for that. I wish we had been able to see it with them.

As it was, I told myself I wasn't only seeing it for me, I was seeing it for Leif, but of course, that's only a nice thought; not in any way realistic.

I grieve for all he has missed, and all he will miss, the movies, the technology, but also what I had hoped for him in life, love, a family, a job that made use of his amazing mind.

If he had persevered, had lived, I don't know whether his life would have gotten better, or just been more misery for him. I don't know whether his health would have continued to deteriorate.

It's nice to think that if he had lived, things would have gotten better, but there's no real evidence that would have been true.

But whatever might have been a different outcome, I know what this one is. This one is missing him. This one is missing sharing something I know he would have loved. This one is missing talking with him about it, his enthusiasm, his insights.

There are so many things inextricably bound to him in my mind. They will always remind me of him and what we have lost.

And so, I completely enjoyed this movie, and completely surrender to the grief of not being able to share at least the discussion of it with him.


The photo of Peter Anthony and Leif playing with some of their Star Wars toys was taken in October 1979 in Sachsen bei Ansbach, Germany. Leif was four-and-a-half years old.

Friday, January 1, 2016

His Favorite Holiday of the Year

New Years Eve is always tinged with nostalgia and a bit of sadness along with the anticipation of the new year, because it was Leif's favorite holiday. I don't know why, whether it was because of the party atmosphere so unlike other holidays, or the fireworks, which he loved, or something else. He wanted to be celebrating with friends or in a crowd, and most of all, wanted someday to be in Times Square in NYC to watch the ball drop. He never made it. This is our eighth New Years without him.

Our family didn't have any special New Year's traditions, and usually didn't take pictures then. We did stay up to see the new year come in, but that was about it. The most memorable New Years Eve we ever had was when we were living in Sachsen bei Ansbach, Germany, up on the hill where we could look all over the valley and see seven villages. That particular night, there was new fallen snow and a full moon, so everything shown in a soft light. We were watching this from our upstairs veranda, when the fireworks started. We saw the fireworks from all seven villages. How I wish we'd had the video cameras we have today. We don't even have any photos of this magical event. Leif loved it. He was only four or five years old. Perhaps that's what got him started loving New Years.

This photo was taken in January 1977. I no longer remember whether it shows him working with a puzzle he got for Christmas, or whether it was later in the month and was a birthday present. He would have been two years old that January. Bright little fellow that he was, he was already working puzzles. This one was of Oscar the Grouch. It was taken in Charlottesville, Virginia.