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, July 17, 2011

Dinosaurs Rock!

As the months of summer allow me some much needed freedom of mind, I can’t help but wander back in time. I wish for moments that will never be again, but know deep down in my heart that there are many moments that sustain this broken heart.

Shane loved dinosaurs! When I say loved dinosaurs, this just might be an understatement. Shane, even at a young age, knew the names of the dinosaurs – from the allosaurus to the stegosaurus, to the velociraptor to the triceratops, to the apatosaurus to the brontosaurus, all the way up to the mighty tyrannosaurus rex.

When Beth and Shane were little, one of their favorite movies to watch was The Land Before Time. The movie tells the tale of five orphan dinosaurs, who band together while traveling the land. They form their own little family, while facing the odds of survival, and realize their strengths (individually and as a group). 

Did I mention that Shane loved dinosaurs?

Beth and Shane are three years apart in age. Beth has always played the role of big sister with such responsibility and determination. Beth could even be found playing dinosaurs with Shane, even though she might have enjoyed doing something else.

I can’t recall the exact month, but Beth and Shane were young (five and two years of age). It was late in the afternoon when I realized that it was awfully quiet in the house. I went into the family room; the television was on, but no Beth and no Shane. I wandered down the hall and came upon the partially closed bathroom door. I peeked into the bathroom and couldn’t believe my eyes. There on the bathroom countertop sat the two lovely darlings. Beth was very close to Shane, but I couldn’t see what she was doing. I did notice the huge smile on Shane’s face. And then…I noticed his green arms! Yes, that’s right – Beth was transforming Shane into a dinosaur!!!

Beth had gathered up every green marker she could abscond and was having the time of her life. Shane was in his glory becoming a T-Rex! I can’t believe I didn’t grab my camera and capture that moment on film. Instead, it is one of those magnificent moments that are captured only in my heart and mind.

I believe it took a few hours of soaking in the bathtub (playing with dinosaurs) and many changes of the water before the green disappeared. The T-Rex Shane was slowing fading amongst the bubbles and washcloth. The last of the dinosaur green bath water circled the drain, just a few drops left in the tub.

I will not let Shane’s sense of honor and duty fade, nor will my memories circle the drain. Instead, I will try to do my best on any given day; as I continue to “put one foot in front of the other.”

Shane’s Mammy and Beth’s Momma