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 6, 2011

Don't Be Afraid of a Date on a Calendar

It’s just another day, I tell myself. And in reality, that’s all any day is. Just another 24 hours in a long series of days that eventually turn into weeks, months, years, decades, lives.

But you know it’s more than just a day. Right. Three months ago, Shane’s live abruptly ended. Although I could imagine the possibility of Shane dying (he was, after all, in an active warzone where his company was actively fired upon multiple times a day), I never could have imagined the aftermath of death. It’s awful. The dead get to die. The living are expected to keep on, well, living. Shane is hopefully in heaven or experiencing some sort of peaceful afterlife existence. Maybe he was reincarnated and is getting ready to start a new life as human or a dog or a bumblebee. My mom did always say that Shane had a very old soul so it wouldn’t really surprise me if whomever is in charge up there decided to give his one more go in a new form. Wherever he is, hopefully it’s better. But the rest of us are still here. So what do we do?

Me, I’ve begun to be afraid of dates on a calendar. The 6th of December was difficult and painful. Shane’s death was still very fresh. But the 6th of January passed without incident for me and I was really proud of that. So I thought that would become a trend – that every 6th would be nothing more than a date on a calendar for me. Instead, I’ve been dreading this 6th for the past few days and I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s just the time of year and the weather. At this moment, everything seems perpetually gloomy and like the world will remained covered in snow and ice and cold for rest of eternity. Maybe it’s that this is the three-month marker. Maybe it’s just because I was taken out of my grieving process for that second month anniversary and I’ve finally settled back into things. I suppose it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that it’s here. I had nightmares all night and woke up abruptly at 6:22. Everyone else is asleep. I’m alone at the moment, sitting in the dark chill of the morning, unsure of whether I even have the energy to cry about things.

Today, I will get out of bed. I will shower. I will assemble an outfit. I will go out into the world and at least fake functionality. I will remember my brother. And today, I will try to not let the hole in my heart consume me.

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