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

Friday, February 4, 2011

"It's All Right to Cry. Crying Gets the Sad out of You."

I often find myself wondering whether I'm where I'm supposed to be on the grief scale. Am I grieving enough? Too much? Was I laughing too much the other day? Is it okay that I still cry in the car every day? It's tough to say. I haven't read any literature on grief and I don't really talk to people about my it except for those closest to me. And everyone says basically the same thing -- that grief is a very personal journey and it's never the same for any two people. 

There are days that are more difficult than others. Yesterday I woke up feeling melancholy and could not figure out why. The not being able to figure out why occurs rather often. I will have a sense of sadness or start crying and I'm not quite sure why. I almost have to remind myself that maybe I feel blue because I'm grieving the loss of Shane. I think the reason behind this is that I don't want to admit to myself that I'm still being sad. 

If I know anything about my brother, it would be that he would not want the people he loved to sit around mourning him. He would want to be remembered, absolutely, but he would also want us to carry on with our lives. To find happiness, to find love, to live our lives. I try to remember that when I start feeling a sense of grief overcome me. I allow myself to feel anger or pain or fear or sadness or loss. But then I move on with my day. Shane is always with me, in my heart. But I don't allow the sadness that his death created to overshadow my life. Because if I were to do that, it would just consume me and I would be trapped in the Nothing. 

The people who told me at the funeral home that this will never go away were right. I was talking to Shane in the car about that the other day, a place where I often find myself having conversations with the air. How those people really knew what they were talking about. It never stops hurting. It will never go away. There will always be a hole in my heart that cannot be filled. And I would even say that it doesn't ever get easier, it just gets "different." 

Shane isn't someone capable of being replaced for anyone whose life he touched. And for me, he isn't someone capable of being moved on from. He was my only brother and I will never get another one. Sometimes I wish that I had other siblings so that the loss of Shane could be cushioned by having other brothers or sisters to lean on. But most of the time, I'm content with having had 23 years with one amazing little brother. 

So I guess for now, it's alright to continue crying in the car. Maybe one day I'll be able to take a car ride by myself and not feel the familiar wet sting on my face of tears. But that day probably won't be today. And it probably won't be tomorrow.