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

Monday, July 25, 2011


It is late, I am tired, but my mind won’t settle for the night. Sleep has become my nemesis, and tonight, I am losing the fight.

Tonight, I am at Shane’s computer, sitting in his chair, typing on his keyboard, and listening to his top 25 most played songs on iTunes. I don’t like Shane’s keyboard, but this is his gaming computer and gaming keyboard. It seems foreign to me, even though, all the keys are in the same place as they were back in typing class in high school.

I stroke the keys and let my thoughts come to the surface, just as the mighty whales rise to breathe.

Determination is what enters my mind; Kurt and I are truly blest to have two very determined children. While Beth and Shane set different courses for their lives, it is a characteristic they both share.

Beth set her goals on education. She was determined to graduate with honors in high school, college, and law school; a goal she accomplished. Tonight, Beth is still studying, cramming her brain preparing to take the bar exam. I marvel at her fortitude and resolve to continue with her purpose in life. Beth is determined to make a difference in this world, and I am ever so proud of her.

If I close my eyes and block out the world around me, I can hear Shane’s determination. Shane was one heck of a guitar player. Shane would spend hours upon hours in his bedroom, amp on full volume, and practice until he got the sound just right. I remember Shane learning how to play “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns N’ Roses. The opening riff for the song was played again and again and again and again, until it was perfect. I remember complimenting Shane, but he shrugged off the comment and acted like it was no big deal.

Shane carried his determination with him in the Army. Shane was determined to help keep America strong and free. I do not know who to give credit for the photograph, but it captures Shane’s determination. The photo captures the look of a soldier, a soldier who is dirty and tired and determined to do his best. A soldier who is truly missed by his brothers-in-arms, who truly understand this photo. A son who is truly missed by his mother, who strives to understand this determination, but ever so grateful to say Shane is my son.

I will conquer my nemesis. I will continue to “put on foot in front of the other” as I head off to dreamland.

Always and forever,
Shane’s Mammy and Beth’s Momma

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