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, January 9, 2011

One Tough Week

To be honest, last week was not easy. As I walked out of the house on Monday morning in the darkness of the early hours, my eyes turned upward in search of that special star. I couldn’t find it because the clouds were blanketing the sky.

So, off to school I went (papers still waiting to be read and graded) – really not sure if I was truly ready to be back. Again, the questions kept coming into my head – is it too soon, can I really do this, am I strong enough, am I being the best teacher I know how to be?

Once inside my building I hoped I had made the correct decision and then my kids (and former kids) came in, hour after hour, and in my heart, I knew I had made the best decision.  You see, my students are never my students, they are always my kids.  I have a passion for my subject matter, and I believe that passion will win.

Later I walk out of the building, again in darkness, and head off to return an item I purchased.  To be honest – it was one heck of an ugly sweater, which I purchased in September.  As I pass by a rack of clothing a top catches my eye. It looks like “Beth,” so I stop and find the correct size.  Someone calls my name and tells me she is so sorry for my loss.  Then with tears filling her eyes she tells me how she tried coming to the funeral home or funeral Mass, but couldn’t because all she could think of – what if that was one of her kids in the casket.  And with that my heart stopped for a moment. What if? My jaw clenched and I just stared – and then I asked how her children were doing.  And then she proceeded to tell me. Finally, I said I was weary, that I left my house twelve hours ago, and needed to get home. Yes, get home to my family, yes, go home to Kurt and Beth (and the Lola).

I called my dearest friend and vented to her.  I thought I was over this, but all week it hung in the back of my mind just as that ugly sweater hung in my closet.

It wasn’t until Saturday night as Beth and I were talking – she under the freshly washed comforter and I on top, that I decided to share the story with her.  Instead, this time I laughed and said – I believe that is now the number one thing not to say to someone.  And we both laughed.

And then it made me think of Shane and how he could turn someone’s comments into a bit of laughter.  So, thank you Shane for another one of your gifts as I continue to put, “one foot in front of the other.”

Peace and Love,
Always and Forever,
Shane’s Mammy and Beth’s Momma


  1. I think that is the most awkward part of losing someone, is talking to other people about it. Everyone wants to say something to make you feel better, and it all sounds so goddamn WEIRD when they say it. "Sorry for your loss". "He's in a better place". "Everything happens for a reason". Or the clincher, "If there's anything I can do, just let me know". And you're standing there like, "Thanks, I guess". It never plays out quite right. But you know they mean it, and they just want you to feel better, but they feel so POWERLESS to do anything, because there is nothing to do. I still remember it from when my Dad died when I was 11 ( a LONG time ago). You just have to take in the spirit to which it was intended, and know that at least people care enough for you to come up and try to find something to say.

  2. Oh sweetie, you're not past this. You'll never be past this. I know people think you're not "moving forward". If they'd only experienced a loss like you have they'd know. You keep putting one step in front of the other, but it's like doing the moonwalk. At least for a while. For a very long while. A very, very long while. It's an awful journey, one you won't wish on your worst enemy. You're doing a good job, the best you can. The best anyone would do, if they needed to. Shane is so proud of you, Kurt and Beth. God bless you.