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

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. 

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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.