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, September 25, 2011

September 25, 2010

I am sitting here with a plastic bottle of Coke and a small bag of sourdough pretzels.

One year ago today, we took Shane to the airport to fly back to Afghanistan. I have previously posted about that drive to the airport. I have written about my special moment at the airport.

I do not have a photo from that day; instead, I have included a photo of my recent trip to the zoo. It is with pride and honor that I post this photo in Shane’s memory. Swan was Shane’s online gaming name. 

Maybe that is the reason this swan was so gracious to “perform” for me. I hope so.

As I continue to “put one foot in front of the other.”

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Detroit Zoo

One year ago today, Shane and I went to the Detroit Zoo as part of our special day

I went to the Detroit Zoo this afternoon

I went by myself, but I was not alone

As always-
i carry your heart with me
i carry it in my heart
i am never without it
          ~e.e. cummings

As I continue to “put one foot in front of the other.”

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

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Last Sunday

This has been a taxing week on many levels, but the fact Shane was home just one year ago for his mid-deployment level weighs heaviest on my heart. And it is just not my heart; this weight is on each and everyone’s heart who knew and loved Shane.

This was Shane’s last Sunday at home before he returned to Afghanistan on Saturday, September 25, 2010. In my world, Sunday is still family day. It is a day to try and catch up from the demands and pressures of the world. It is a day where there still is a home cooked meal and conversation or maybe an outing.

Today is a day in which I could easily wallow in self pity or sadness or depression. I will not let the tears flow because I do not think I could contain them.

Instead, I will share happy memories of Shane. A Shane that the Army never got to have, a Shane that only very few of his brothers-in-arms knew about his passion for playing his guitars. Yes, his brothers knew about his knowledge and love of music, but not about the guitars. Shane decided once he joined the Army that the two worlds would not collide.

As I reach back in my memories, I grasp onto Shane’s senior year of high school. I have previously shared that I was blest to have had both Beth and Shane in the classroom. The one course that they each took as seniors was yearbook. And, you guessed it, I taught the course. A part of the responsibility of producing a successful yearbook is to generate revenue. Every year the yearbook staff and I would sponsor a Halloween costume contest. The students would pay a dollar to have the privilege of wearing a school appropriate costume. The yearbook staff would select the winner and he or she would receive a plastic pumpkin filled with goodies.

Shane and two of his good buddies, Tim Rosseel and Scott Shannon, decided to dress up as 80s rock stars. I don’t think anything more needs to be said – the photograph speaks volumes. I believe it was one of their best days at CMC. Tim and Scott have been humbled by their friendship with Shane. 

Tim, Shane, and Scott

Another senior moment for Shane was during the talent show. I know Shane was in his glory when the female student body kept yelling his name, “Shane, Shane, Shane – we love you, Shane.” I guess a guy and his guitar equal star treatment. I had a hard time focusing my camera between my giggles of this treatment for my son. This was near the end of the school year, and for some reason, Shane was able to stay under the radar with the length of his hair.

Lastly, this is one of my favorite photographs ever taken of Shane. Terry, the owner of St Clair Studio, took Shane’s senior portraits. I remember helping lug in the change of clothes, sports equipment, amps, and guitars for the photo shoot. Of all the photos taken that day, it is this one that I cherish the most. I feel this photo captures the essence of Shane – his passion and love of music.  

So, today, I might stumble, but I refuse to stand still or step backwards. Instead, I will force myself to move forward as I continue to, “put one foot in front of the other.” I do this in honor of my son, my Shane Michael, my Moe.

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

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Big Secret

I am beyond tired, but my mind will not settle for the night. I have spent the good part of the day thinking about a secret. Yep, a big secret between a brother and his sister. Secrets are tricky things; they are in a world of cloaks and veils.

On September 10, 2010, I was in my classroom, last hour of the day. I remember there was a knock on the door, and I turned around to see who was coming in my room so late in the day. And then I could not believe my eyes. There was Shane with Beth standing behind him. I stopped dead in my tracks, there was Shane. Shane! Shane told me he was still stuck in Afghanistan waiting to fly out for his mid-deployment leave. Beth and Shane had devised a plan to keep Shane’s homecoming a secret from Kurt and me. Beth alone went to the airport (with her special sign) to greet Shane. They drove straight to the high school and were escorted to my classroom. Shane did not take time to shower or change his clothes, which he had been in for a couple of days, but came right to school. And there were my children – oh, my heart was so full of love!

The following Monday, Katie, one of my seventh hour kids, gave me a present. She told me not to be mad at her because she broke a school rule, but to open the present. The present was a framed photo; Katie took out her cell phone and snapped the surprise. It is from the back of the room and not the clearest photo, but it captures the bear hug I gave Shane. I love this photo!

How Beth was able to keep this secret from me – well, I have yet to figure that one out. I do not know who concocted this plan, but it was a plan with a high level of secrecy.  It was shared between a brother and his sister, who had such a special bond.

I was reminded of this bond when I was watching the news, and Governor Christie delivered his speech at Liberty State Park in New Jersey. He said, “…when you think about the brother or sister who no longer has that person who they can pick up the phone and call and speak in that shorthand that only comes after spending a lifetime together. When you think about that measure of loss. All of the changes and inconveniences in our lives, pale in comparison.” Well said Governor Christie, well said.

As September 11th has now rolled around – take time to remember the victims and their families of September 11, 2001. Take time to remember those who sacrificed their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan to help keep America safe. Take time to remember their families and friends. Take time to reflect on this great country and the freedoms that we cherish.

As I continue to “put one foot in front of the other.”

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

Monday, September 5, 2011

The longer you are dead, the more I feel like I didn't really know you.

"I just want to know you."

"What does that mean, know me, know me. Nobody ever knows anyone else, ever. You will never know me."

Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction