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

Lux Aeterna

This is one of the most beautiful and haunting pieces of music I think I've ever heard -- "Lux Aeterna" (Latin for "the eternal light") composed by Clint Mansell. It's from the film Requiem for a Dream, adapted from Hubert Selby, Jr.'s novel by the same name. The book is difficult to read and the movie is difficult to watch. I went through a phase where I tried to watch the most disturbing movies I could find. At the time, I was having incredibly graphic nightmares, and while I now look back and realize that the films I watch probably just contributed to the images in my brain while I slept, I was trying to prove that other people had thought of terrible things, too, and the movies were evidence of this. 

Requiem for a Dream appears to be about drug addicts, but it's more about the human condition, how warped a conception of the American Dream can become, and how our desires for feeling, for a connection of any kind, often leave us completely and utterly alone.  The last scene of the film includes a very graphic sex scene, but is also one of the most beautiful pieces of film I've ever seen. The first time I watched it, I forgot to keep breathing because I was so captivated with what I was seeing, tears streaming down my face, my mouth partially agape as the film finally came to its end. It finds all four of the main characters alone, in the fetal position, having finally succumbed to their demons and delusions. 

When Shane and I were both living at home, I came home from school one day to find him in the TV room. 

"I watched this movie today," he said, holding up the case to Requiem for a Dream. 

"Oh yeah," I replied, "And what did you think?" 

"It was pretty fucking sick. But ... it was good." 

"You liked it?"

"I'm not gonna want to watch it every day, but yeah, I liked it." 

I don't know why particular vignettes stick out in my memory. Why I remember that particular 30 seconds of my life but forget others entirely. Maybe it's because Shane and I didn't always agree on what movie to watch or what was good or what was bad. 

Shortly after he was killed, I was going through his iTunes library on his home computer, and I found multiple versions of Clint Mansell's "Lux Aeterna." It was a connection that I had with Shane that I never knew about until after his death, the sort of thing that makes me both happy and sad all at the same time. 

I had a nightmare last night. It was the kind where I feel like I haven't been breathing the entire time I've been asleep, my whole body is frozen and I can only open my eyes before regaining control of my limbs, which are all on pins and needles. I sucked in a gasp of air and while I did so thought about Shane, telling myself to not be afraid of some images in my mind when I know the nightmares that he has and lives are much worse, somehow forgetting that he was dead. By the time I exhaled I had succeeded in reminding myself of the events of the past 45 days. Right now, I've come to hate the moments where I fool myself into thinking that Shane is still alive, but just deployed, and that he'll be home in about 4-5 months. During the few couple weeks of Shane's death, I loved these moments. They made the rest of the day a little bit more bearable, knowing that I would have a brother who is alive and well for a few seconds each morning. But now, they're cruel little jokes that my mind plays on me, a nightmare in and of themselves.

1 comment:

  1. "There are stars whose light only reaches the Earth long after they have fallen appart. There are people whose remembrance gives light in this world, long after they have passed away. This light shines in our darkest nights on the road we must follow." The Talmud

    Keep posting your thoughts, Beth. I, for one, have gained a lot of insight on the type of person Shane was and especially the close bond you two shared as siblings.

    John Wallace