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, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

As you might guess, I'm not a religious person. Neither was Shane, for that matter. So while today does not hold a great deal of significance for me as the birth of Jesus, it does hold significance in that it is a time to spend with family and friends. 

Last night, we spent time with my dad's side of the family at one of my uncle's houses. We had great food, played board games, laughed, and hugged. It was a great night filled with lots of love. Today, we will spend time with my mom's side of the family and I'm sure there will be lots of love there as always. 

I've always thought that family isn't just the one you're born into. But since Shane's death, this has held especially true. I was lucky enough to be born into a family that I actually like. Even though I only got to have him for 23 years, I had a brother who was one of my best friends. I have parents whom I can talk with about anything. And I have an extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins whom I adore. But I was also lucky enough to go out into the world and make my own family. My parents can say what they want about how I might not be the best at picking boyfriends over the years, but I've managed to do a really great job at picking my friends. Or maybe they picked me. Either way, sometimes I get overwhelmed at how much I love my friends and how much they love me back. 

One of my best friends gave up days out of her life and time away from her family to come and be with my family right after Shane was killed. She shepherded us into the shower when all we had done was sit around and mope. She made she that we ate. She made sure we were where we needed to be. She let me just sit and be quiet when I needed to, and made me laugh, and didn't make me go to the funeral home when I didn't want to. And she poured me a glass of wine or two when I needed it. I really don't know what we would have done without her around during those really difficult days. I know I'll never be able to adequately thank her for doing all of those things, except that she knows in her heart that I would do the same things for her in a minute. Luckily, I'll get to see her today.

I'll be with some of my other friends who have become family today, and I'm excited that they'll get to spend time with my "real" family as well. 

So hold your loved ones close today. Let them know that you love them, because you never know when it's going to be the last time. Laugh. Smile. Eat too much. Don't drink too much. And while you're sitting with your families, please remember the brave men and women who are sacrificing time with their loved ones so that the rest of us can be safe and sound.