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 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.