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, August 27, 2012

Another Gift...

Recently, we visited Great Lakes National Cemetery as a family. Kurt and Beth humor me with my cemetery rituals – always enter the cemetery with the 80s music playing, a visit to Shane’s gravesite, which includes flowers, poetry, music, conversation, and lastly, a Coke and sourdough pretzels.

Then a drive around the cemetery to view the nature. The cemetery is located on over 500 acres with a small lake; it is truly a beautiful resting place for the veterans. And then I spotted the swans – they were far off, but I wanted to capture another photo of the swans and their not so tiny cygnets. Kurt stopped the car, and I ventured through the tall grass and weeds. After taking a photo or two, we stopped once more at Shane’s gravesite.

It wasn’t until later that I had an opportunity to put the photographs on my computer. I could not believe my eyes when I zoomed in on the photo. The swans are fairly well hidden amongst all the trees, but there, on a fallen branch, is a turtle. Yes, a turtle! 

This little turtle put such a smile on my face because of a silly video on youtube entitled, “Zombie Kid Likes Turtles.” The video has over 37,000,000 million views since being posted in 2007. A young boy with a freshly painted zombie face is asked by reporter what he thinks about his face paint. The boy’s response is, “I like turtles.”

And with that, “I like turtles” was a response commonly heard in the Reifert household no matter what was the posed question. Just when I thought I would no longer hear that response, it would pop up again. Thus, turtles became another connection to Beth and Shane.

Gifts with a turtle theme always have a special meaning and are not given lightly. Recently, Beth gave me a turtle charm, which I will wear on a necklace. And if I close my eyes tightly enough, I can still hear Shane say, “I like turtles.”

So, little turtle on the fallen branch, were you there for a reason? To put a smile on my face? To help mend a broken heart? To bring fond memories to the front? Or quite simply – Shane being Shane and bearing another gift?

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


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

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