The Childerses stare and stare. They know it's their son lying before them, but they keep repeating his name aloud as though they're not absolutely sure, as though there's still some chance it's a mistake. Maybe he's still in Iraq, Judy thinks, policing the streets of Baghdad. Maybe he's coming home with the others in his platoon once the long mission is through. Or maybe he's still there on the battleground, in the desert oil fields he helped save, in the first hours of the first full day of the ground war.
The Marine protocol officer hands Judy a few of Shane's personal effects from Iraq. When she holds Shane's watch and ID tag the bottom finally drops out of her emotions and the tears stream down her face. Something about the specificity of the artifacts drives home the reality for Judy. The watch, in a sense, speaks of Shane's belief in precision and training, his obsession with equipment, and of a life of mastery that, despite every precaution, proved vulnerable. "He's really not coming back, is he?" Judy says.
And for just a little while longer, she and her husband hold each other and stare at their son and wail, "Shane. Shane. Shane."