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.