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, February 20, 2011

"All I Mind's Losing You"

I sleep in my brother’s bedroom every night. On his pillows. Surrounded by all of things, untouched since he left them. I suppose that this could be interpreted as morbid. But I find it comforting. I like waking up in the morning to see a young Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix on the walls. Not because I love Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix – I do, but that’s not the point. I also like waking up to see Shane’s book and music collections, and not because I would pick the exact same book and music collections.  The reason I like waking up to these things is because Shane liked these things. Shane picked the Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix posters. He picked every CD sprawled over every surface in the room. And he read probably most books in his collection, especially the Star Wars ones. All of these things, added with many others, are part of what made Shane, Shane.

So I wonder, what happens if the room becomes disturbed? What happens if I take a shirt out of the drawer? What happens if I read a book and forget to put it back? What happens when, on some day in the future, these things are packed away or given away? Will I lose a part of Shane? Will that make him more of a memory some how? Does that mean I might forget a part of him?

It’s easy to remember everything now because it’s all still fresh in my mind. I can imagine that Shane is still in Afghanistan and that he will be coming home in two or three months. Then, in two or three months, I will have to make up something else to tell myself when Shane does not come home with everyone else. And time will only continue to move forward, bringing an ever-distancing gap between my brother and me.  Things will continue to happen to me. People will enter my life. Events will occur. Lessons will have to be learned. And all of these things will need to be remembered. And I become afraid of remembering these new things – afraid that they will take over my memories and push Shane out. Of course, when I rationally think about it, I know that isn’t how memory works. But even with reason and logic, my concern remains. And that is that I’m going to lose Shane.

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