Pfc Shane M. Reifert

Pfc Shane M. Reifert
Shane during a sweep of the Shuryak Valley, approximately 3 weeks before he was killed. Photo Credit: PFC Sean Stromback

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

“Guilt is perhaps the most painful companion of death.”

I had an (almost) normal day today. I wore earrings and jeans instead of a pair of Shane's sweatpants and a hoodie. I went to school. I talked with some professors. Walked in the rain to lunch with two of my friends. Felt actual hunger. Ate food without feeling like I was going to vomit. Laughed at jokes because I thought they were funny, not because I was abiding by social cues. Talked on the phone with another friend without mentioning Shane. Actually studied for a final exam instead of pretending that shuffling through papers is sufficient. 

And now, as the day is coming to a close and I sit in my apartment alone, I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt over this almost normal day.  I feel guilty that I wasn't mourning all day. I feel guilty for not thinking of Shane non-stop. I feel guilty that I got to be alive today to have an almost normal day. I feel guilty for feeling guilty, because I know that Shane wouldn't want me to waste my time feeling this way. Shane always told me that I needed to stop worrying so much, that I needed to not be in my head so much. And I'm really trying to still follow his advice. But as I sit here, I find it impossible to follow. I recognize that I need to find a way to live an actual life without an overwhelming sense of guilt every night. But I also know that it's been less than a month since Shane was killed, and that for now, it's okay to feel guilty.

Monday, November 29, 2010

"So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I am still trying to figure out how that could be."
- Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being of a Wallflower

I took this photograph during Family Day when Shane was going through Basic. At the time, it perfectly described our lives without saying a word. Back then, I was so sure about my life. And now I question everything. I want to metaphorically be back in those shoes but am unsure if that is even possible.

Donations Update

Today my dad shipped out the first of what will be many packages to the men of Bravo Company. It wasn't anything fancy -- shampoo, deodorant, jerky, candy, and baby wipes -- but it's a start. The packages will hopefully be arriving within the next 2-3 weeks. 

Stay tuned for what else all of your donations are able to purchase for Shane's brothers.We have received an unexpected amount of donations and know that Shane would be happy that even after his death he is able to help his brothers.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


vul·ner·a·ble \ adj \ˈvəl-n(ə-)rə-bə

1. capable of being physically or emotionally wounded 
2. open to attack or damage

Examples of VULNERABLE
  1. She was very vulnerable after her brother died.
  2. Her brother was in a vulnerable position when he was killed.
  3. Her heart is now undefended and vulnerable.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Kill Those Noobs!!" -- Shane Reifert

Before Shane joined the Army, he was very much a gamer. I can't count the number of times when we were both living at home that I would yell at him to keep it down as he laughed and screamed with his gaming buddies. Now I would do anything to hear him laughing in the backroom into the wee hours of the morning. Shane's gaming life was very much his own. He never met the men he gamed with but I knew that they had strong friendships with one another. I've contacted/been contacted by a number of his gaming friends, who all tell me how much Shane meant to them and how, even though they had never met, they considered Shane a friend and were deeply saddened by his death. I asked one of his friends, "Ody," to write something up on Shane and his time gaming. I displayed this, along with Shane's controller, headset, and some games, at the funeral home. This was a part of Shane's life that I was not a part of, so it was very comforting for me to hear Ody describe a part of Shane that I never knew:

I first met Shane, or "Swan" as we knew him, in the fall of 2005 while we were members of a large Call of Duty 2 clan called Gunners of War (GoW). We gamed together in that clan for a very short time, a few months at the most, but that is where a small group of guys (including Snipe, 2pies, Creeper, Kermit, and Hawk) were introduced to each other .  While all of our friendships started in that clan and it was a good time, it didn't fit what we saw as the ideal gaming experience. GoW was a large clan with over 100 members.  I think we were all looking for a more intimate gaming experience, a couple guys in a voice chat server, shooting the shit while playing and just screwing  around while still being competitive in leagues. We decided that a small group of us that played together more often than the rest was gonna leave and start our own clan later named  "Banana Police". By the way, Shane was a big advocate for that name... He loved it :)

Through many hours over many years of gaming together regardless of age differences of up to 10-15 years apart, we all had the games in common. People had their real life stuff from graduating high school and/or college, buying a house, having babies, getting married or even learning to drive a car for a couple younger guys!! Yet most nights we all ended our days playing a game together, laughing, shooting the shit, being jackasses, going into servers with douchebag admins who had goofy, strict rules  and seeing who could get kicked or banned first :) Shane was a pro at that, he knew how to get people going :)

People that have never gamed online with others may not be sympathetic about it because they can't understand, I have lost a real friend. Even though we never have met face to face, we knew a lot about each other. Together, us guys weren't just playing video games. We we talking about life.... stress, jobs, books, music, movies,our goals, our families, girls etc. It's like another family, things aren't always perfect but in the end we're all still there for each other. We got to know each other better than I know some of my friends that I see all the time.  Shane was a great friend and an incredible human being. He sacrificed his life so the rest of us could safely do the dumb shit we do everyday. I am honored to have known him and I am truly grateful for what he has done. He will never be forgotten. RIP SWaN

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Grief is itself a medicine." from William Cowper's "Charity"

I didn’t realize it until now, but today is the first day that I have had a chance to truly mourn Shane. Up until today, my family and I have been busy with paperwork, funeral home arrangements, funeral arrangements, burial arrangements, receiving 100s of messages, letters, and phone calls, etc. Today, there are still some cards in the mail and, as I lay in Shane’s bed typing this, I can hear the phone still ringing. But that’s the thing. I’m in bed. I cannot bring myself to shower. I cannot bring myself to change my clothes. I feel the emptiness and darkness consuming my heart and now my mind. And these things – the emptiness, the darkness – are what comfort me today. 

Right now, I have no desire to be happy. I want the emptiness and the darkness to stay with me for the time being. Not forever, but until I’m ready to tell them to go. I have had very dark moments in my life before this. But those dark moments were with my inner demons and something that I had the power to conquer. They were things that would pass, that I could tuck into the back of my mind. Before Shane’s death, whenever I felt weak, I would think how I overcame my dark moments and how I wasn’t going back to that place.

This dark moment, this new place, this one I am powerless against. I cannot summon my inner strength to make everything go away. I cannot take a pill to balance my seratonin levels and norepinephrine levels because that’s not really what Shane’s death is about. There is no pill which, after 4-6 weeks of proper usage, will make me feel like normal people feel. Because I am no longer capable of feeling normal. Shane’s death has forever marked me.

In the Jewish faith, a practice known as shiva performed when someone dies.Those within 7 degrees of the decreased mourn for 7 days, they cannot bathe or change their clothes, among many other restrictions.

As I lie in Shane’s bed, surrounded by all of the little things he felt were important enough to have in his life, I feel as if I am practicing my own form of shiva. I do not want to change my clothes. I do not want to eat. I do not want to move. I do not want to listen to anything but sad music. I want to peel my skin off. I want to scream but do not have the energy. I want to somehow be consumed by the sheets and blanks and pillows, to be surrounded by safeness and the quiet. I want to disappear.

So I will continue to mourn. I know this mourning will not last forever, but I am holding on to it tightly until it ends.

Shooting Match to be Held in Shane's Honor

Long before he joined the Army, Shane was a skilled marksman. He and my father would shoot together and competed in several matches together, typically performing quite well.  

The American Confederation of Tactical Shooters (ACTS) will be dedicating its December match to Shane and all proceeds will directly benefit his company. Please click the link below if you are interested in competing in the match. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

More Soldiers Killed from 1-327

From the DOD:

Five men from Alpha Company of the 1-327 were killed in action on November 14, 2010.

            Spc. Shane H. Ahmed, 31, of Chesterfield, Mich.
            Spc. Nathan E. Lillard, 26, of Knoxville, Tenn.
            Spc. Scott T. Nagorski, 27, of Greenfield, Wis.
            Spc. Jesse A. Snow, 25, of Fairborn, Ohio.
            Pfc. Christian M. Warriner, 19, of Mills River, N.C.

According to The Long War Journal, a significant number of soldiers from Alpha Company were wounded. May those wounded make speedy and strong recoveries. 

When my mom heard that these 5 brave men died, she said, "That's five more sad families." That's something I never contemplated before Shane was killed. Before, whenever I heard that a solider had been K.I.A.ed, I would only think of the soldier and how the loss of his life was tragic. Now, however, I think beyond to the parents, siblings, wives, girlfriends, friends, and community of that soldier. I know that Shane's death affected many individuals -- even complete strangers -- and my heart aches for the many others will be affected by the deaths of the 5 brave men from Alpha Company. I know that the next couple weeks for the families of these soldiers will be a whirlwind, and I will keep them in my thoughts. 


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It's Shane's funeral today. Also, I stubbed my toe getting into the shower. I felt guilty for feeling pain. I felt stupid for stubbing it in the first place. And I was reminded that life will eventually go on.

Funeral Home Phrases

Phrases that I never want to hear again:
  • I'm so sorry for your loss.
  • Things will get better.
  • How are your parents? 
  • How are you doing? 
  • You are so strong.
  • Let us know what you need.
Does this make me sound ungrateful to most of the people who attended the funeral home over the past 2 days? Absolutely. Am I really ungrateful? Definitely not; the outpouring of love and kindness has been overwhelming. But hearing these same phrases and questions on loop from family, friends, strangers, etc. mean that the questions and my responses begin to lack meaning. I felt like I was stuck on repeat. I know that everyone means well, but maybe we need to come up with some new funeral home catch phrases to mix things up.

The most meaningful comments were when I was told that this would not get easier, that it would get harder. That the pain never really goes away. That this sucks, is awful, etc. Or even silence.

I am exhausted after the past 2 days, and my family and I have 2 more long days ahead of us. I will write more after things have calmed down and I am able to get more than 2 hours of sleep a night.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thank You

Today was such an outpouring of love from so many people. From family members, my close friends, and total strangers. It was a bitterly cold day, so my family and I were extra-thankful for the Patriot Riders, firefighters, policemen and women, and kind individuals who lined Jefferson Ave. for Shane. As my mom, dad, and I drove behind the hearse carrying Shane, we were all a little misty-eyed. 

"I can't believe all of these people are here who didn't even know Shane," my dad said. 

"Well," I replied, at a slight loss for words, "We are all Americans. And even more than that, we are all human beings." 

It's nice to be reminded of how willing people are to help if they are only asked or made aware of a situation. That's a large part of why I started this blog -- to make people aware of the situation that our soldiers face and provide them with the opportunity to help. Thank you to all who have donated. To those who do not but read my blog, I encourage you to consider donating to the fund we have set up for Shane's brothers who are still fighting in Afghanistan. Giving up a latte at Starbucks, drink with friends, or even some spare change will help to make a difference in a soldier's life. These men do not lead easy lives. They often go hours and hours without sleep, sleep on cots, do not have the opportunity to shower every day, and reminders from home are a luxury. So even a few dollars would help to go a long way. 

Tomorrow is going to be a very long day. I was thankful that my mom, dad, and I were able to view Shane's body today and have some private time with him. I realized that the body in the casket is not my brother, and in an odd way I am also thankful for that. 
Everything suddenly seems very real and I want to crawl into bed for 100 years and wake up as a new person.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

God Loves Everyone, Except for Assholes

Westboro Baptists Give Press Release Regarding the Protest of Shane's Funeral

Shane's Guitars

Before Shane joined the Army, he played the guitar. It was one of the hardest things for him to give up when he joined. Shane had over a dozen guitars. I know nothing about them except that one is an acoustic, one is a bass, and the rest are electric. Now the guitars sit and gather dust or are entombed in cases like caskets. 

The other day, my friend was over. He used to have a band. He can learn to play a song just by hearing it. He has a breathy but strong voice and gets nervous for the first few seconds he plays the guitar in front of others. And I showed him Shane's guitars. My friend opened each case with care and I could hear excitement in his voice as he explained what each one was. I had no idea what he was talking about, but it didn't matter because someone was appreciating and understanding something that Shane loved so much. It made me feel better for a moment. It made me feel connected. 

This friend never got to meet Shane and I deeply regret this. I know that he and Shane would have gotten along, that Shane would have approved of him as my friend (something he rarely did) and they probably would have even been friends themselves. That is why on Wednesday this friend has kindly granted my family's request to perform a song that Shane wanted played at his funeral, on Shane's Taylor acoustic guitar. Hearing my friend play this song tonight for me made me fear that this will be the last time I ever hear someone play Shane's guitars. It made me realize that Shane himself will never play those guitars that he cared for so much. I thought of all of the songs that Shane will never learn, all of the music he will never hear, and most of all, of the finality of death. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

How Can You Be In A Bad Mood When Someone Says "Woo-Hoo"? -- QVC Host

I like watching home shopping channels. I never have to think when they are on and the hosts have relaxing voices. Right now, there is a holiday makeup show on QVC. Everyone is wearing floor-length red velvet gowns. They are very happy and pretty with perfect lighting. The thought of the the holidays makes me want to vomit. 

Today, we went to the location that Shane's funeral luncheon will be held. The last time I was there was for a wedding. We met with a manager and made decisions. I am apparently getting pretty good at making decisions, because the manager asked if I was also in the Army. I told her no, that I was in law school, and she said, "well that makes sense." I don't know if that's a compliment or offensive. 

Many of the decisions we made today were ones that would be made for a wedding. We determined the length of the head table, which will hold photographs of Shane instead of a wedding party. We made a floor plan and I refused to pick make a seating chart. We picked out a food menu and debated having an open or cash bar. If I ever get married I know I won't be able to have a wedding that involves any of the things, because it will always remind me of Shane's death. 

Near the end of our meeting with the manager, I asked whether there would be Christmas decorations in the room in which Shane's luncheon will be. She had mentioned earlier that the staff would be setting up decorations over the weekend. The manager hesitantly answered yes. I know my body language spoke for me. I thought about asking her to take them down, to hide all reminders of Christmas so that I don't have to think about how miserable it might be this year. My parents said to leave them, that we are going to have to face them anyways and might as well do so now. I didn't feel like fighting so I agreed. 

There will be Christmas decorations at Shane's funeral luncheon. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I might do both. For right now, I will watch 5 women babble on about how important it is to own a 20-shade collection of eye shadow and what a perfect gift it would make for Christmas. And that will be enough, because it has to be. 

Funeral Home Update

After what seems like an eternity, Shane is finally coming home to Michigan. 

Shane's Arrival
Shane is being flown in to Selfridge Air National Guard Base on Sunday, November 14, at approximately 9:30 a.m. His arrival at Selfridge will be a private family service. From there, he will be escorted to the funeral home. 

Funeral Home Visitation
Visitation will be held at Gendernalik Funeral Home in New Baltimore, Michigan. The funeral home is located at 35259 Twenty-Three Mile Road, New Baltimore, MI 48047. 

Visitation will take place on the following dates:
Monday, November 15 from 4:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 16 from 2:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. A prayer service will be held on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Shane's Funeral
Shane's funeral will be held at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Marine City, Michigan. Reverend Ronald Jozwiak will be presiding. The church is located at 601 South Water Street, Marine City, MI 48039. 

The funeral will take place on Wednesday, November 17. 

Viewing will begin at 10:00 a.m. and the funeral will begin at 11:00 a.m.

Shane's Internment 
Burial will be Thursday, November 18 at 12:30 p.m. at Great Lakes National Cemetery, located at 4200 Belford Road, Holly, Michigan.

The Cornfield

A heavy mist has set in. Usually it wanes and fades as the sun comes up. But today, it seems as if it has settled in to stay. The weather and I are finally on the same page about the proper mood and atmosphere for the situation at hand. 

If I were a child right now, I would be very afraid of what lies behind my house. We have a backyard with a fenced in area for the dog, some apple trees, and beyond our property line, a cornfield. 

When Shane and I were kids, the cornfield was a place of mystery. While we did not understand what property or trespassing was, we knew the cornfield did not belong to us. But on rare occasions, when the geese next store did not scare us back into the house, Shane and I would venture out into the cornfield. 

One day, when the spring thaw had set in and the temperature had risen enough to create rain instead of snow, Shane and I decided we were going to play outside. We must have been 3 and 6 at the time, respectively. Even though there wasn't snow on the ground, it was still bitter cold and mucky from the rain, so my mother bundled us up in our snow pants, winter jackets, gloves, books, and hats. In other words, the works. She anticipated the possibility of us getting a little dirty if we played in the cornfield, warning us not go too far. 

Shane and I trekked out back to the edge of our property, which seemed like miles to our stubby legs but was really only an acre. The cornfield stretched out in front of us. There is a small drop between our property and the cornfield and we helped each other make it down into the field. At the time it felt like we were wilderness explorers, discovering uncharted territory. 

Click "Read More" to continue.

No One Tells You How Draining Death Is

Death is exhausting.

It's phone calls. Emails. Facebook. Text messages. Visitors. Opening cards. Paper cuts. Talking to reporters. Looking at pictures. Remembering. Forgetting. Worrying about forgetting. Lasagnas. Being asked questions I don't want to answer. Asking questions that don't have answers. Accidentally looking in mirrors. Not recognizing myself. Looking awful. Feeling guilty for caring what I look like. Not caring what I look like. Having too much gray hair. Watching clumps of my hair fall out. Realizing that I'm an only child. Shopping for clothing I will never wear again. Wearing RayBans indoors so no one can see my eyes. Making everyone in public uncomfortable by letting them see my eyes. Telling people thank you when I really want to say fuck off. Telling people that I will not have a good weekend because my brother is dead. Being happy that I've made people uncomfortable. More lasagnas. Refusing to smile. Faking a smile. Comforting others. Being strong. Not crying. Crying. Being comforted. Saying I'm okay when I'm really not. Trying to convince myself that I'm okay and failing. Turning music on. Turning music off. Making funeral home arrangements. Believing in God. Not believing in God. Driving to places I don't remember. Silence in the car. Screaming in the car. Being coddled and hating it. Being coddled and liking it. Saying things that aren't appropriate. Saying things that only Shane would have appreciated. Laughing. Feeling guilty for laughing. Feeling guilty for being alive. Feeling guilty for feeling. Feeling a type of pain I didn't know existed. Not feeling. Thinking I'm not capable of feeling. Wanting to vomit. Not being able to breathe. Wanting to crawl out of my skin and into someone else's. Pretending this never happened. Telling people I love them. Being told that people love me. Wondering what that means. Being told that Shane loved me. Knowing I won't love anyone more than I loved him. Trying to think of what Shane would have wanted. Not knowing what Shane would have wanted. Waiting for a body. Not knowing how my brother fucking died. Not knowing myself. Thinking this could still turn out to be some sort of nightmare. Wondering how all of this is going to end. 

Friday, November 12, 2010


Shane mostly corresponded with everyone back home through Facebook messages. I was re-reading some of the messages we had exchanged, and I wanted to share a message that I sent to him right after he deployed to Afghanistan. I am sharing this so that others know what families experience when their soldier deploys, and what a soldier feels as he is about to begin fighting in a war.

From: Elizabeth Reifert
To: Shane Reifert
Date: May 8, 2010
Time: 1:23 p.m.

i don't know how often you will have the internet. but you were right i guess about me not really dealing with the fact that you will be gone for up to a year. i guess i hadn't really noticed because i had had people around me for the last few nights and didn't even have to sleep alone because there were just friends here and i didn't have to think about anything. but then last night i was all by myself. i didn't have any school work. there wasn't even anything really on tv. and it was just kind of sad and lonely. and then this morning i made the mistake of watching an episode of the pacific on hbo and i just cried and cried like a big baby. so i guess i won't be watching any more of that. although it was really good.

i think about you being in the desert. in a place that is unfamiliar and strange. i have no idea what you are going through. or what you are about to go through. i know that you won't be the same person when you come back from all of this. i don't think you could go through being through a war and not be changed. i know it will change me and everyone else who you hold in your heart, as well. but i can't imagine what it will be like for you.

this isn't a very uplifting email. i wish it was. i'm sorry. 

Click "Read More" to see Shane's response to me.

I Feel You in the In-Between

The in-between. It's what I call the time between first waking and actually being awake and cognizant. I relish the in-between every morning, even though it doesn't last very long. It's a time when nothing is really wrong, nothing is really right, everything is a little fuzzy.

Shane has been dead for 6 days. And for the past 6 mornings, for those few fleeting seconds in the in-between, I am in a world where Shane is alive. Far away and in a dangerous place, but alive and connected and eventually coming home. For a few seconds each morning, I feel Shane's presence in the in-between and everything is going to be alright.

And then, as quickly as it came, the in-between goes. Something yanks me back to reality, the in-between becomes distant and the realization of Shane's death becomes palpable.

I wish I could find a way to stay in that place for just a few seconds longer. I'm afraid of the morning that I wake up and he is not in the in-between. 

But for now, he is there. And it is enough.

Oh, Dear Sister, Trouble Weighs a Ton

We sat in a room that was decorated in order to make its occupants feel as welcomed and relaxed as possible. The lighting was soothing. The colors were neutral. It made me want to vomit. We were at the funeral home, beginning to make arrangements for Shane's viewing. There are so many details that need to be worked out - picking a prayer card, listing the names of survivorship for an obituary, deciding viewing times. I wanted the boulder on my back to be lifted off. I didn't want to think about any of these things. I wanted to be melt down and be absorbed into the carpeting.

As we waited for the funeral director to enter, a man with an army hat entered the room. His face looked familiar but I could not place him. The man shook my father's hand. Dad turned to me, saying "this is Sergeant Williams." I thanked Sgt. Williams for his service, but it didn't click in my head who he was until he sat down. 

Click "read more" for my experience with Sgt. Williams and the day that my family dropped Shane off for BCT. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

“I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, “Mother, what was war?” – Eve Merriam

To any veterans who are reading this, thank you for your dedication, heart, and service to our country.  


I think that most Americans take our veterans for granted, and the wars in which we are currently involved for granted. Everyone goes about living their lives, forgetting that there are men still fighting for our freedom and for the freedom of others. Because of Shane's death and my many conversations with his brave brothers who are still serving our country, I am especially reminded how important today, Veterans Day, is and how we must all express our gratitude to our troops in whatever way possible -- through a prayer, handshake, or a simple moment out of your day to contemplate the life that a solider has and may currently still be living to protect America. 


I have many veterans in my family and I am equally proud of all of them. Today, as my family and I plan Shane's funeral arrangements, I will be ever more cognizant of our veterans and eternally grateful for those who answered the call.


"Our thanks to those who answered the call,
Who took up the challenge, and gave their all.
God bless those more brave than me.
So that we can live in this Land of the Free." 


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shopping for the Unexpected; Screaming when Alone

Today I went to the mall with my father. We were going suit shopping. Normally, I love going to the mall, swiping my charge, and carrying home bags. But today was very different. We were buying a suit for Shane's upcoming funeral. 

The first salesperson we encountered was a flit of a girl. Younger than I am and "not my style," as my dad noted. She wouldn't take his measurements, didn't know how long alterations would take. So we moved on to the next store. 

Click "read more" for the rest of my mall encounter and my conversation with Grandpa and Grandma.

Watch Fox 2 News at 10:00 Tonight

Fox 2 News reporter Ron Savage came to our house this evening and interviewed my parents and myself about Shane. Please watch the 10:00 news on Fox 2 Detroit tonight to see the story. Mr. Savage was very respectful and I hope the news story does Shane justice. 

Apparently we are a now a "grieving family."  Visit the Fox News Detroit site below to see part of the interview we gave:
Grieving Family Remembers Pfc Reifert

I thought that the segment was good, although we probably talked to Mr. Savage (the reporter) for roughly 20 minutes. I suppose I shouldn't take things personally, since the lead story on the news tonight was about a girl who was raped and then hung herself. That, and medical marijuana.   

We All Die Alone

I just want to wake up from this nightmare and find out that all of this has been some sort of cosmic cruel joke. That we're just being punked. That there's been a mistake and Shane is alive and well and still out there taking names and kicking ass.  

I keep thinking about his autopsy. How he would have been sliced open on a cold slab. How his organs would have been weighed and then placed back inside with care, in a methodical and scientific manner. How he is now alone in a cold box. How I want to rip my heart out of my chest and give it to my brother so that he doesn't have to be in a cold and sterile box. How we all die alone. 

"Every living creature on earth dies alone."
-- Donnie Darko

Update on Donations

Please click the link to learn how to donate directly on this blog or where donors may send checks if they choose. 

Reporters, the Media, Articles on Shane

Reporters are an interesting breed. One of my close friends is a former reporter and an incredibly kind, even-keeled individual, but I've been learning over the past few days that there are other types of reporters. In the 24-hour news cycle we live in, I can appreciate the need to push stories out. But bothering my extended family because papers are impatient to get a story out while we were in Delaware seemed offensive. One reporter whose call I was returning impatiently asked, "Who are you, again?" She did not get comments from me or my family. 

The Times Herald initially had an article written by Liz Shepard that did a great disservice to Shane and my family. However, yesterday I had the privilege of speaking with Crystal Garcia. She was very kind and did not mince any of my words in her beautiful article, which is linked to below. I think that her article captures the spirit of Shane and that he would have approved. 

Click "read more" for The Times Herald Link and another link to a Fox 2 News report.

Final Arrival

Two months ago, I had a secret. And it was that Shane was coming home on September 9th. Shane had told my parents that he was beginning the process to come home on leave, but he made me promise that I would not tell them the exact day that he would be home. So we told some fibs and made my parents think that he was stuck in Kuwait when I knew he would be arriving in Detroit on a Thursday. 

I made an embarassingly glittery sign to hold. I packed a bag with chocolate chip cookies and Monster energy drinks for in the car. And when I got a text from Shane telling me when his flight would get in, I could not get to the airport fast enough. 

I stood waiting in baggage claim, wanting to jump out of my skin with excitement. As it so often does during great anticipation or dread, time slowed down. 

And then I saw a pair of Army boots on the escalator, followed by an ACU (Army Combat Uniform), and finally my brother's face. I dropped my purse and sign and wrapped my arms around him in a bear hug. People were clapping. I breathed him in so deeply. When I finally let go, my muscles hurt from embracing him so tightly.  We were both a little teary eyed and had the widest smiles possible. Shane was home. Everything was going to be alright.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Memories of Shane

If anyone would like to share memories of Shane, or write a message for him, please feel free to do so under this post.  

I don't know quite where he is in the universe, but I know he can still feel all of the love that everyone has for him.  

Birds Seen Flying Around, You Never See Them Too Long on the Ground

"Mr. Rager, Tell me where you're going, Tell me where you're headed."
"I'm on my way to heaven."
"Mr. Rager, Can we tag along, Can we take that journey?"
--Kid Cudi's "Mr Rager"

My brother loved music more than anyone I know. He was a talented guitar player and has piles and piles of CDs. Even though MP3s are now the most common way we obtain our music, Shane still much preferred owning CDs. Maybe it was the physicality of it all --  the anticipation involved in opening the plastic wrapper, the sound of releasing the disk from its case, flipping through liner notes. But there were many times when I would take him to Record Time and we would wander aimlessly around the store until we had collected our treasures, arguing about which CD would be played first. 

I am much more impatient than Shane, so I would always want to skip ahead. But Shane always insisted on listening to the whole album through, from track one until the end. It was sacred. A ritual for him. 

Kid Cudi's sophomore album "Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager" came out today. Kid Cudi was one of the few artists that I got to tell Shane about. He was usually slightly ahead of the pack when it came to music. The first time that Shane listened to Kid Cudi was on family weekend during Basic. We were driving somewhere in Georgia, sitting in the backseat with my parents in the front, just like when we were kids on road trips. He was so very quiet and not sure how to act around human beings who weren't in uniforms. He had a hard time being in a civilian vehicle and not being told what to do. I didn't quite know who he was. So I handed him my ipod, telling him to just listen. And he did, to "Pursuit of Happiness." And Cudi's lyrics were something that touched him deeply. He reached over and squeezed my hand, and I knew that he was still my brother. 

I'm not yet able to listen to "Pursuit of Happiness" because it's too much of a close memory for me of Shane. I know it will be a long while before I can hear that song. Before he was killed, "Pursuit of Happiness" was one of the songs that gave me comfort. I would turn it on as loudly as possible in my car and drive to no where in particular, always with the memory of Shane listening to the song in Georgia.  I look forward to the day that I will be able to hear the familiar beat and take comfort in the lyrics again. 

Today though, in Shane's memory, I listened to "Man on the Moon II" from start to finish, without skipping a single track. 

Funeral Arrangements

At this time, we do not yet have funeral arrangements for Shane.  But as soon as this information is available, we will be alerting everyone to the details. 

Donate in Shane's Memory

Many have started to inquire if they can send flowers and to what location.  

My family and I have discussed this option and have decided that, in lieu of flowers, we will be accepting donations that will directly benefit Shane's brothers.

While Shane's fight has ended, his brothers are still fighting in Afghanistan out of the 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, of the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. 100% of the donations will purchase these brave men equipment, gear, clothing (such as gloves or other cold weather gear), or anything else that would benefit them as they continue their fight in Afghanistan. We feel that this is what Shane would have truly wanted.  My family and I will be personally overseeing that your donations are getting supplies that Shane's brothers need. 

Donors should be aware that donations may be used to support other soldiers, dependent upon the number received.  

How Can I Donate?

You can donate directly via this blog site, using the PayPal "Donate Now" button.

1.  Click the "Donate Now" button, located on the right hand side of the screen.  

2.  Enter your donation amount.

3.  Click "Update Total."

4.  If you have a PayPal account, use the "Log In to PayPal" box and enter your account information. 

5.  If you will be donating by credit card, click "Continue" under the text "Don't have a PayPal account" in order to donate.  


If you do not have a credit card or PayPal account but still wish to make a donation, you can make the check out to Kathleen Reifert (my and Shane's mom) and send it to:

105 Fairbanks
Suite 200
Marine City, MI 48039

Please be aware that even though the check is to my mom, this is at this time the donations are going into a joint back account she shares with my brother. 100% of all donations will directly benefit Shane's brothers who are still fighting. 

Gone But Never Forgotten

My name is Elizabeth Reifert and I have created this in memory of my brother, Pfc Shane Michael Reifert.  Shane died on November 6, 2010 in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan.  He died while fighting with his brothers of the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, out of Fort Campbell.   

PFC Shane M. Reifert was fighting at the tip of the spear in the War on Terror at COP Able Main, a small, rugged outpost in the Peche River Valley. He and his Brothers of 2nd Platoon, Bravo Co, 1/327 101 ABN engaged the enemy on a daily basis. They were recently part of a complete sweep of the Shuryak Valley where they killed or captured a long list of high value targets with the entire US Force coming out of it intact. They also were involved in Operation Strong Eagle and Strong Eagle II where there was very heavy fighting.

Shane served as the platoon RTO for the first 5 months of his deployment and trained his replacement for that job before he came home on leave in late September. We are grateful for the time we had with him while he was on leave. When he returned to Afghanistan, he reverted back to his original position a grenadier on a fire team which was his desire. He lived to be a front line infantryman.
Shane was my only brother.  He was my mother, Kitty Reifert's, only son.  He was my father, Kurt Reifert's, only son.  

He was so very much loved.