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

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Shane's Last Christmas Present to Beth

The following was written by my mom, Kitty: 

Shane’s Last Christmas Present to Beth

I have started and stopped this write so many times, but I am compelled to write about last Christmas. It was just a year ago that Shane and I went shopping for his Christmas present to Beth.  Never in a million years would I ever allow myself to imagine that would be the last Christmas present he would ever purchase.  As a mother, I built this protective wall for my children that I felt would never be shattered.

I knew that this was a special moment because Shane asked me to go shopping with him for the perfect gift for Beth.  It had been quite awhile since Shane had asked me to go shopping with him because he preferred shopping with his sister.  

Shane wanted to purchase a gift that would not wear out or be out of fashion, but something that Beth would always have to remind her of how much love they shared.

So off we went – headed out to the mall.  While driving to the mall we talked about life and music.  We talked about his new life at Fort Campbell and what it would be like to be part of the legacy of the 101st Airborne Division.  We talked about The Black Keys, Eminem, and Beck.

By the time we had arrived at the mall, Shane had decided he was going to purchase a necklace or ring for Beth.  I never realized how many independent jewelry stores were in the mall, let alone the jewelry departments in the anchor stores.  Yet, we managed to go to every store that carried fine jewelry – just to end up back at the first store and the very first showcase that Shane peered into. 

I remember perusing the showcases with Shane – a time or two pointing out a piece of jewelry, just to have him shake his head no.  Most of the time, I would pretend to look into the showcases, but all the while keeping my eyes on Shane. I would embrace the intensity of his search, his search for the perfect gift.

We stopped and had lunch before he made his final decision.  Again, talking about music and family and his passionate commitment to being Soldier.

Finally, we returned to that very first showcase.  I remember Shane examining the ring he selected, holding it up to look at it from all angles.  It is a ring that screamed – buy me, I am the perfect gift for Beth.  It is a citrine ring with black and white enamel.  It is not modern or antique, but it has “Beth” written all over it.

But it is more than just a ring; it is the last Christmas present that Shane ever purchased.  It is one of the endearing reminders of Shane.  It is a gift from the heart, a gift between a brother and sister. A gift of love that will help us over the sad and painful days.

My husband and I have been truly blest to be able to say that Elizabeth is our daughter and that Shane is/was our son.  As parents, are always grateful for the love of each of our children.

Beth’s momma and Shane’s mammy


  1. What a beautiful memory.

    Love and hugs, this Christmas season and always.

  2. Dear Kitty, Kurt, and Beth,

    My thoughts and love are with you. Do what you need to do each day. Love ML

  3. Merry Christmas to you all from me.