Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Yesterday was Rob's funeral. It was beautiful. Again, the Patriot Guard showed up holding flags outside the auditorium and a bell was being rung. During the service they had a 16x20 photograph of Rob in uniform in front of a flag. I looked at it most of the service. That picture made it feel like he was right there. They played a slide show before and after the service. My friend Nancy is going to put it on here when she gets the chance so everyone can see it. She did an amazing job. Thanks, Nancy. After the service we went to the cemetary. The police were in front with the Patriot Guards on their bikes, then Rob, and then more Patriot Guards leading us to the site. It was so surreal that the 21 gun salute and presentation of the flag was for MY husband. I still can't believe he's gone. Even though I was there when he passed away, to me it feels like he's still deployed. So many people were there. It's just unbelievable the amount of support. I know that the girls and I are going to be ok because there are so many people that care. Afterwards we had a dinner and I was able to talk to some people who I hadn't seen in years who had traveled so far to say their final goodbyes to Rob. When I left the dinner, I was by myself. I drove up to his grave site. He had been buried and a flag was placed on top. Everything is so final. As much as I wish I could go back and undo the past, I can't. It's the most helpless feeling. But I know he's looking down on us and that gives me comfort. My brother called me and said that before they left town, he and his wife drove past to see Rob with their almost 4 year old daughter. She said "daddy, I see Rob flying away." Aaron said "What did you say, Megan?" "I see Uncle Rob flying away in the sky. He's with Jesus." Amazing. Later that evening, some friends of mine from Ft Hood came over to my parents. Their husbands are in Rob's unit. I swear, only fellow military wives can lift eachother up after the day we had. It ended up snowing. Well, before long one of the wives was making a snow angel and then we ended up in a full fledge snowball fight. When we were done, we sat in my parents hot tub and talked for a couple of hours. It was some much needed stress relief and I thank you for providing me that ladies. Tomorrow I leave for Ft Hood. They are doing a memorial service for Rob on Thursday and presenting the girls with a scholarship. I'm not taking the girls with me because they've been gone too much and Julia needs to get back to school. I'll be back on Saturday. It'll give me a chance to bring some more things from the house back to Nebraska.

There were several news stations that covered Rob's funeral. Here are a few links:

(I think those are right...I was doing them off the top of my head!)


Anonymous said...

Thank-you Dena.
Yes, girlfriends are the best and much needed in your case.
Fort Hood will be the final closure, God Bless Rob, our dear American hero.

Michelle said...

Oh Dena....

Your posts are so heart felt and honest. The respect I have for you and your amazing resilience under so much pain and stress....I have no words to describe it.

I will always include you and your girls in my prayers. I have to believe that God has a much grander plan for your special husband or he would never have put you and yours through this much pain and loss.

Again, thank you will never be enough for the sacrifice that your husband and your family have had to make on our behalf.

With love and respect,

Scottsdale, AZ

Donna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna said...

Thank you Dena for sharing your most treasured moments with us. You have been such pillar of strength and honor through out this entire experience. While reading your blog I shed many tears and had a few laughs with your sense of humor. You were very gracious with your words. I pray that if I am ever faced with a situation like this that I will have the strength to be like you. You are truly amazing!

I am sorry we were unable to make it to pay our final respects, but please know we are deeply honored to have known Rob and are greatful for his service to our country and will always see him as a true American hero.

Thank you again to you and your girls for allowing us to share this with you. And please know you will never be alone and you will always have a friend. Please don't hesitate, whenever you need someone I will be here.

joyce said...

Still deployed is a good way to look at it--deployed face to face with Jesus in heaven.

huskyseehuskydo said...

I cried when I read this post Dena! After such a hard day what a wonderful way to end it. You know Rob was probably laughing right along with you all during your snowball fight.

The funeral was so incredible. There just aren't words to describe it. I want you to know that even though Josh and I didn't know Rob well, we feel so blessed for the few great memories we have. It's all we can talk about. Josh was talking yesterday after the funeral of the time that he, Rob, my dad, and your dad whooped the butt of a few old guys at shuffle board at the White Eagle. Josh and Rob had never played before, and they were laughing because they totally kicked everyone's butt!

...And what Megan saw at the cemetery. Out of the mouth's of babes. That is just amazing!

Know that you and the girls will always be in our prayers. We are sending our love your way. If you need anything, please let us know.

Josh & Jenny Werth

Anonymous said...

With no doubt... Rob is a true hero!!, i look at the little videos of the funeral, }What a service Rob Recieve!!! just what Rob, and the hole family deserve!! please let us know about the slides that Nancy make for you... i really want to see it!!

Andrea e isa said...

Thanks for the up-date, i look at the video of the funeral ... and it make me even though I wasn´t that close to him Proud of knowing him and being friend of his sister, i Can´t imagine how Proud did you felt.

God Bless you Dane, and give you everything you need to keep going...

We still here for you!!!!!!111

Erin said...

Military funerals are so beautiful yet so sad at the same time. It seems like everything has ran pretty smoothly and I hope it continues to do so. I miss you and the girls at Hood dearly and I wish I could be there at this time to lend some hugs. Stay strong and I'm sure the girls will help you along the way. We will all miss Rob dearly but he is onto bigger things with the man upstairs and he will continue to make us all proud, every day.

You, Rob, your family and your posts will forever remain an inspiration to me, Dena. I hope our paths cross again one day... the military is funny that way.

Sending hugs from Massachusetts- Erin <3<3<3

Connie Pat said...

I didn't get to talk to you, and that i am sorry, but I want you to know you made everyone proud to know you and Rob. I spent most of my time with Barb. You grew up to be a amazing woman. I'm gratefull to have watch you and Rob grow up.God Bless you and the girls, and remember Rob will always be with you!

The Bender's said...

We love you and are praying for a safe trip to FT Hood for you and your parents. And after meeting some of the people from FT Hood, we know you will be loved and taken well-care of in Texas.

And always remember - anything, anytime, anywhere....

Love you,

Household6 said...


Maybe this is the wrong word, but the pictures from the funeral were beautiful. I still am so sad that we couldn't be there but I am also so happy that so many came out to show you their love and support for Rob.

I know what you mean about feeling like Rob is still deployed, that's what Greg and I keep saying..."he's still in Afghanistan!".

I know the next couple of days, weeks, months and years are going to be especially hard for you, please know that we are here and would love to help in any way we can.


The Spencers

Katrina said...

May God continue to Bless your family, now and always. I agree with everyone here in thanking you for sharing your family's story, and hope that you continue to do so. I also thank you for your husband's (and family's) service to our country. My prayers will always have your family in them.

Anonymous said...

Dena, I think about you and your girls all the time. Thank you for sharing Rob and his story with us. Even though we may not have known you personally, you really made it feel like we did. Rob sounds like he was an incredible husband, father, and all around great guy. You will always be in our prayers.

About The Caddo Tribe said...

The service sounds like it was beautiful. Rob is an American hero and never will be forgotten. Thank you for the update. Have a safe trip to Ft. Hood.

Mike and Shani Ginani

Anonymous said...

As always, your family is in people's thoughts and prayers throughout the country. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I will continue to pray for you and your girls. I am not worried about Rob, because we know he is already at his new duty station and watching over y'all. Your and his love was a true lovestory written by God himself. I am sure the coming weeks and months will be the hardest you ever go through...If you feel you are able, I hope you continue to take us with you on your journey. May God continue to bless you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Dena, I was able to catch several newscasts that were showing parts of the memorial service for Rob. It was so touching. The honor and love shown to Rob and all of you was so wonderful. Watching you, I'm sure he would have been so proud and the girls will appreciate that as they grow older. I trust you will have a safe trip to Texas and home. If possible please continue to keep everyone updated. You are in the thoughts and prayers of so many people. Betty from Keya Paha County.

Liz said...

You are a family of heroes. Our hearts and prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...


When you said it felt like Rob was still deployed I immediately felt in my heart that, yes, he is. He's just in God's Army now.
Bless you and bless those girls. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
The Dietz Family
Fort Riley, KS

Trish said...

Dena, you and your girls are forever etched into our hearts - May God wrap His Loving Arms around you and keep you the rest of your days - With loving prayers,
Rome, GA

Anonymous said...


We got back last night. The funeral was beautiful and it was so good to see you, the girls, and the Yllescas family. It was good getting together and talking about Rob and sharing so many memories. Beau and I felt so proud to have known Rob. He was truly a remarkable person whom we will remember fondly and always look up to. We will miss him so much. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and your families.

Beth and Beau

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/10/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Anonymous said...


Rob absolutely WAS with us as we buried him and said goodbye. I hope the love and care of others continues to bring you comfort in the difficult months ahead. "Deployed" is a good way to look at his absence, but all deployments end, this one won't until you "deploy" too, which I hope won't be for a very long time. You are an amazing woman, I know Rob is very proud of you, as you are of him.

The funeral was beautiful. Was hard for me to be there, as it reminded me of the last military man I buried, my dad. Like you, I'd never seen such an outpouring of love and support as I saw the day we said goodbye to him, and like Rob, he was so well loved, it was a great comfort to us. I'm an exmilitary wife too, and I remember how long deployments could be. I was blessed to never have to send my husband off to battle like Rob, much less 3 times. You are an inspiration. Know always that all military wives, and servicemen are with you, and will always be here to help you. The military is a family unique and all it's own, and we stick together. Love to you and the girls.

Christine and Aaron Mays

joyce said...

The video is awesome. Thank you

Kati from Western Nebraska said...

Nancy, that was a very nice slide show, you did a wonderful job on it. Those pictures are priceless. Thank you for sharing that with us.

Dena, I am glad you have so many girlfriends that are there to help you though this rough time. May god be with you and your family, I hope you keep us updated on you and your girls. Take care


Paige Tyler said...

I just downloaded the snowball fight and snow angels made that night! Dena, I will never forget that night as long as I live! I will always cherish that memory and I hope you will too!

Heather said...

So many emotions... wow, what a wonderful tribute to your husband. I know it is hard to believe he is really gone but knowing where he is and who he is with will provide you comfort. God Bless you in the coming days at Ft. Hood. Thank you for sharing your feelings with all of us.

Heather in Helena, MT

Jodi Lilly said...


Thank you for sharing the slide show with all of us. I will never hear "American Soldier" or "Just A Dream" without thinking of you and your family - it puts it into a whole new perspective now.

If you ever need to escape, feel free to come to Omaha for a visit - would love to see you again and catch up...it's been too long.

Take care and know that you have family and friends supporting you all over the world.

All my love,
Jodi (Seifert) Lilly
formerly of Stromsburg

The Morrow Family said...

Dena, I just watched the slideshow and it was amazing. I didn't know either of you but feel as though I do now through your blog and the slideshow. You have been a tower of strength for us. Rob was a true American Hero. Take care of yourself and know that you and your family are loved by many people.

brat said...

{{{{{{{{{Dena and girls}}}}}}}}}

I promise that your beloved Rob will NEVER be "nameless, faceless." Thank YOU!

You will always be in my prayers.

With much love.

Brat (Canada)

Anonymous said...

I was in York when they brought Rob through town and have followed your story since. I am touched, you were blessed. Thanks you and Godspeed, Cpt. Yllescas.

Andrea e isa said...

it was so nice to see the slide photos!!! Nancy that was a greast thing!!!

Anonymous said...

We loved the slide show. Thank you for sharing those photos and memories with all of us.
You are in our thoughts and prayers daily.

Kris said...


What a beautiful video tribute to Rob. Nancy did a wonderful job. Thank you for sharing the photos with us, as well as every moment you've chronicled along the way. Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with you, Julia, Eva, and the rest of the Yllescas family.

The Mahurin's

Anonymous said...

Julia and Eva,

You two young ladies are extra special because you have your daddy as your guardian angel, watching and guiding you in the right direction. May God bless you and your mother.

Josh Fink said...

It was truly an honor to be part of the escort from Lincoln to Osceola with the Patriot Guard. It may have been 35 and windy but a few hours of cold for me on a bike was nothing compared to what Rob has done for this country. It was a small price for me to pay. Hopefully Rob's uncle? that was on the ride explained the significance of the motorcycle formation in front of the hearse and the meaning behind the passenger pegs being down on the bikes. Thanks