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

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"When your strength fails, take some of mine. It will be in your heart when you need it." -Shane Reifert

"When your strength fails, take some of mine. It will be in your heart when you need it." 

Shane wrote this to me in a letter when he was still going through Basic. I had it inscribed on a set of dog tags that I wear when I'm having a particularly rough day or need a bit of luck. It's one of the most beautiful things anyone has ever said to me, and I'm glad it came from my brother. Most of the time, it works. Whenever I think I'm having a rough day, or someone isn't being very nice to me, or I have a list of things I need to do longer than I can count, I repeat Shane's words to myself and I think about him and what he would say to me. I think about all of the rough days that he had in Basic and in Afghanistan. I think about how much of a strong person he was for doing what he did with his life.

Then I usually tell myself to stop feeling so sorry for myself and to accomplish whatever I need to accomplish, and things are fine. Today is one of those days where I have to keep saying that over and over to myself and I can't seem to find any strength left. 

I've been having a pity party for one all day and no matter how many times I look for Shane's strength in my heart, I can't seem to find any. People tell me how strong I am. But I feel weak all the time -- like I've been living off of fake strength for the past four months and maybe reality is finally starting to catch up.