Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Settling in

There's not a lot to report right now. I'm trying to get settled at my brother's house. I'm so grateful to them for letting us stay with them. It helps us out so much. Today one of the liasons we had in Germany who was from Ft Riley came and visited me. He gave me an awesome picture of his unit when they were in Baghdad and had the guys in the unit sign a card for us. That was so nice of him to drive all the way from Ft Riley just to give that to me. Thanks, Sgt Schroeder! I'm still working out all the details of all the things I have to change over and do since Rob passed away. I'm sure this will be an ongoing thing for awhile. I was never one for paperwork but I guess I better get used to it! Tuesday is my 30th birthday (yikes, I can't believe I'm THAT OLD!!) and my mother in law and mom have done something special for me. We're getting massages and the little girls (not Eva of course) are getting "princess" manicures. I know Julia will LOVE IT! I'm excited for the massage and I definitly could use one. After that she made reservations at a really cool restaurant for us all to go to. I remember when Rob turned 30 he thought it was the end of the world. I never understood that. Isn't 30 the new
20's?? :) Julia's doing well in school and is adjusting fairly well. She has a way of keeping things inside but I know that she misses her daddy terribly. She's made different comments that break my heart. I'm going to get both of us in to see counselors. She's at such a fragile age and I want to do all I can to make sure she is able to deal with this all in a healthy way. Eva's doing good too. However, leave it to Rob to leave me to raise the orneriest of our children by myself! That girl keeps me on my toes!! I'm so blessed to have our beautiful children. I couldn't imagine doing all of this without them. As I mentioned before, reality is slowly starting to sink in. I still catch myself setting my cell next to my bed at night thinking that he will call me. It's so hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that he is never coming home to us. I think maybe it will really hit when the rest of the guys come back from Afghanistan. I literally feel like a chunk of my heart is missing. I just thank God for all the memories I have of him and our 2 little girls. One of our friends had referred to Rob as superman. When he was in MD, our friend said that he always thought of Rob as superman and superman shouldn't be laying in bed. I completely understand what he was saying. Rob was an amazing person and gave 100% in all he did. To know that he is gone, it's almost unbelievable. However, I do know that Rob constantly worried about the safety of his soldiers. Now his soldiers have one of God's warriors watching over and protecting them.


Jackie Fjell said...

Dena--thank God for family! It's good that you can be at your brother's and have them be close by during this, the hardest of your transition time. Counseling will be good for the both of you--I can't imagine what you're going through, but I so thank you for continuing to share! We will continue to pray for your healing and God will wrap you in His loving arms as well. Love and prayers---Jackie and Joe

Tammy said...

Dena, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! And yes, 30 is the new 20! I'm glad to hear you are settling in at your brothers. I hope you have a wonderful Birthday! Still praying for you and your family here in Fort Worth!

The Bender's said...

Girl...superman he was and continues to be as he looks over all of his girls. You just keep taking it day by day, and like we've said many times.. sometimes hour by hour. You are strong Dena and obviously never alone. That is proven not only by your amazing family, but also your inspirational Faith. God is always with us and is here in every way we need, warmth and comforter in times of need, smiling proudly as we triumph...I promise you in your future He will be smiling a lot at you, as He has been with pride at the amazing Christian wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend He made.

And as for the thirties...yes, it is the new twenties!! Ok - so I am a bit bias as I have been there for a few years! Seriously though, I also know that although you had wonderful times in your twenties you also faced too much in your twenties and there is much triumph and good to come in your thirties. Time will take you there....And will be right there with you girl!

Love you and am thinking about you,

Anonymous said...

I am still praying for you and thinking about you everyday. I can't imagine the journey of healing ahead of you. You have such a good outlook on things and you have great faith in God. You will be in my heart, thoughts, and prayers.

PS Enjoy that massage!!

Anonymous said...

Rob is with you and your girls in spirit, and he will be there forever...I know you will keep his memory alive with your girls and that they will always know their dad was a great person. Settling in to a new reality must be very difficult, but each small step you take is important in bringing back a sense of "normalcy" to your lives..enjoy your bday and your girls, and never lose sight of the fact that Rob is with you three all the time.

nancy said...

Happy Birthday Dena! just stopped by to check on you....we`ve never met...but you and your family are in our prayers...again Happy Birthday, peace and blessings in Jesus..nancy

Jackie Fjell said...

Sorry Dena--I forgot to wish you a happy birthday! I remember very well when you were born and your parents we so glad to get to go "home" to Bert & Velma's with you on Christmas Day! I know they're just as proud of you today as they were then, and rightfully so! I saw your Dad in the grocery store a little while ago, and he seems to be doing OK. You are ALL in our daily prayers! Love and prayers.......Jackie and Joe

Anonymous said...

A very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you! I turned 30 in April and it really wasn't too darn bad. I hope you really enjoy that massage your moms are getting you. What a very thoughtful gift! Julia will have a blast as well - much needed after the past couple of months. Getting both you and her in to see a counselor is a great idea. It is just someone to dump your cares upon, who will not judge you.

It broke my heart and made me cry to read that you still wait for his call at night. Dena, I don't know if the waiting will ever end. This is just so hard. I know however that Rob is celebrating with you today and all the other special days ahead.

Hold onto your two beautiful babes and give them lots of hugs. I have a 2 month old who keeps me on my toes as well so I know what you are saying about Eva. Just smile at all the moments, good and tough. They will go by so quickly.

Again, Happy Birthday and take care!

Heather in Helena, MT

Mitch and Vick Coffin said...

Your brothers are great guys. We are glad you are able to rely upon them as well as the rest of yours and Rob's families. We are 10 - 15 minutes away should we be able to help in any way.

Do enjoy your birthday and the massages. Those moms have good ideas and will benefit from this as well. "Taking care of Dena" will help when it comes to taking care of the responsibilities you are facing. I particularly have found a peace from the yoga class I take. I'm not sure where my mind goes but it offers a calmness which gives me strength.

Even though the tempertures are so bitter cold, we're hoping you feel the warmth and love of all of us who hold you and your girls in our hearts and prayers. God bless you Dena.

Hugs and prayers,
Mitch and Vicki :-)

Liz said...

I know tis must all still feel like a terrible us military wives never want to see. But I know God is on your side and he will carry you through these times. Rob will live through those beautiful girls as well. We are thinking and praying for you every day.
Happy Birthday by the way :) Hope you enjoyed that massage.

Jodi Lilly said...


I just turned 30 in July - it's not that bad. Sass it up and have a great day! deserve it!

Jodi (Seifert) Lilly

Cindy said...


Is your address still in Osceola or have you moved it to Lincoln now? I'd love to send you a birthday card. My son will turn 10on Tuesday too so it will be easy to remember you on that day. I'll be praying for you.

Cindy (Hays) Klepper

Household6 said...

Going to see a counselor is a great idea. I have been to one several times and sometimes it just helps to talk and have someone help you "unpack" some things.

Happy Birthday (early!) just reminding you again that you are SOOOO much older then me! LOL


Rosie said...

Happy B'day Dena: LISTEN TO THOSE MOMS! WE are great at giving advice, ideas, and fun things to do. TO BE 30 again! I would love it, 60 is more like it! AND fast approaching! YIKES!
Hope you enjoyed your massage, pedi/manicures ALL good ideas to help Dena feel better. TAKE time for you Dena, and everything else will work itself out, there are plenty of people out there to do the work for you. THANK GOD for family, they are all and have been a true blessing for you and the girls.
Julia is a smart little girl, and she will need someone OTHER than you to talk to, and get all those feelings out of her little mind it will be a good thing for her.
I do recommend it for you as well, it's a great way to unload and let someone take your thoughts away as well.
I know the holidays are going to be tougher for you than your b'day celebration. But, trust in God and everyone who loves you to help you stay strong. WRAPPING our arms around you from Andrews Fisher House, we love you and are thoughts are with you each and everyday. You are in our prayers too.
The Gang
Rose, Janet, and Fisher House Friends & Families

Paige Tyler said...

How nice!!! A massage! You are going to love it. I just might join you in spirit and get one here in Killeen.
And know we haven't forgotten you and your birthday!! Warning: Your gift will be late but worth it! I promise you.

Paige Tyler said...

Forgot to mention how much I enjoyed meeting your brothers Aaron and Layne and their spouses Angie and Shelly. You are so lucky to have them! I have some good pics of them that I will get uploaded soon!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dena for sharing your testimoney. I am a veteren's wife myself and so I feel connected to you even though I have never met you. My sympathy goes out to you, your girls and your families. Happy birthday greetings as well. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and may the peace of Jesus Christ continue to hold you up. Thank you again for sharing your special story. Love, a Stromsburg friend in Christ.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Dena,
Thank you so much for continuing your blog to let us know how you and the girls are doing. I was truly touched by your strength, compassion, love and ability to continue on when I met you in Bethesda. I continue to be impressed by you and your strength. Hope to see you again in the Spring when I plan to get out that way to visit Barb.

Best wishes for you and the girls.

Please accept my birthday wishes and greetings to your Mom, Bev.

You are in my thoughts and prayers,

Polly Reyna

Nate Schott said...

Dena hope you have a Happy Birthday. You are doing a great job with it all and a great job recognizing you can't do it all yourself and are seeking out assistance where needed for you and the girls. Rob would be proud.
Love ya,

B-Mama said...

Dena, Happy 30th Birthday! Thank you so much for taking the time to check in and share your thoughts and your heart. We are praying for you and this extra insight helps us know how to specifically lift you up and support you.

And right alongside Superman was Wonder Woman, which you are. Rob is undoubtedly so proud of all you're doing as he watches from heaven. Keep at it and God bless you!

Take care,
Bethany and the Gasperini family

ZM said...

Dena- You, Julia and Eva continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. I'm blessed to hear that you and Julia are getting grief counseling; I did the same thing after my dad passed away because I honestly didn't know how to manage my grief. There's a book I bought a few years back...I have to find it but it's called Grieving God's Way. The author also has a website...

As for your upcoming birthday, please remember that you (Dorothy from Oz) are (still) younger than the rest of us from the NYC trip.
Hugs and blessings, Z

Nancy said...

Oh Dena- your words are so well choosen... you've managed to put into words exactly how we feel about Rob being's so miserable and surreal- and I know it's x1000 for you guys. My heart aches...

I'm glad you are getting settled in with the girls... and glad to hear about your massage, and glad to hear about seeing a counselor for you and julia... that's so important.

Call me about those emails and contacts I wanted to share with you.


Heidi said...

Hi Dena, just stopping to say good night and thank you for sharing your feelings. I think it's okay to give yourself permission to find some joy in your birthday if at all possible..I just got my first professional massage a couple weeks ago. Holy Cow it was great! I'm excited for you! This turning 30 thing has already got me thinking and mine's still 6 months away. I think it will be a good milestone. I know you are suffering, and worrying for the girls too. I'll say a special prayer tonight that you find a wonderful counselor whom you're really comfortable with who can nourish your soul.

George said...

Just a little note, Dena, to send what strength I can to you and your daughters. You know that you have a world-wide family that you can count upon.

And ... for your 30th? A fantastic day of being treated as the wonderful woman you are! I don't know whether it's the new 20s ... as I look back from my 7th decade, it's hard to tell.

I was relieved to see that you and Julia were going to see a counselor. That will be good for both of you.

Thank you for continuing to post. I know that I feel a part of what you're experiencing.


Anonymous said...

Happy 30th!! I'm getting there sooner than later. It sure does come fast, doesn't it? I'm glad your getting settled in. And I want to thank you for thinking of the soldiers over there. I still can't believe how amazing you are thinking about others. But I do get the feeling that he is there in sprit looking over our guys. And because of the superman powers, he is able to be looking over you as well. You take care ma'am.
lacey c

Heather said...

Have BLAST with your bday! You deserve it! God's Blessings to you during this difficult time. You and the girls and your family continue to be in our prayers daily! Stay strong!
Heather Sanchez

Hometown Friends said...

Dena - your journaling is a healing process for you, and for all of us. Thank you for giving a part of yourself to us. Glad you are getting settled in Lincoln - know you will find strength from being with your brothers and their families - along with having the rest of your family so close.
You mentioned counseling - I would like to share with you an organization in Lincoln called Mourning Hope. Check their website out at - one of the founders is Pam Fuhr-Dinnen - she is an awesome person - along with being our cousin! Anyhow, she is a counselor at Lux Middle School - and her group specializes in working with youth and their families.
I know it may seem like everything is closing in on you - but there is a plan for you - if there were anyway that the rest of us could take the pain away, you know we would! Your faith will keep you stong, Let Go and Let God.

Blessings for your birthday - and give everyone a hug!

Don and Linda

Anonymous said...


From the viewpoint of a mother who has lost her son in Afghanistan in 2007, I understand totally about the chunk of your heart missing, ripped away, leaving jagged, painful edges. The pain at times may fade and precious special moments like you will be experiencing for your birthday will make it bearable. You ARE blessed to have your girls.

Our soldiers are the great warrior angels watching over us. I beleive they are walking along side of us and share in our every day experiences.

When you begin to heal, you may want to read "The Shack" by William Young. If you would like I would be honored to send you a copy. It was gifted to me by my special sister in law and it is meant to be gifted forward to those who it can help with tragedy like ours.

Prayers continue for you and your family.
God bless, Happy Birthday and may your Christmas bring many angels here on earth around you to carry you through.

Cheryl Blaskowski
ARMYMOM Michigan

mike from topeka, ks said...


I continue to pray for you several times a day. And also for Julia and Eva. Sounds like you have great support form your brother; thank God for strong families in time of need.
Get started in counseling as soon as you can. Try to find a Christian counselor. I went through counseling after my wife left me with three kids (ages 3-5-7). I started with a non-Christian counselor and it was horrible. When I found a Christian counselor, he helped me see God through the difficult times. I'll pray strongly for that to happen for you and Julia.
30 is a wonderful age; you have so much life ahead of you serving God and raising those girls.
My daughter is 31 and my sons are 28 and 26.
My step-daughter turned 30 last weekend. Her husband gave her a massage and facial and also gave one to my wife (her Mom) so they could enjoy being pampered together. Enjoy yours. Let yourself be pamered; you deserve it.
Thanks for continuing to update us.
Love and Prayers

Anonymous said...

Dena, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Boy can I remember when you, Rusty, Jenny and all the rest of your class were just little tikes! My how time flies,esp. at my age. You have a wonderful day with Barb,your mom and Julie. Pamper yourself. Have a great day

Connie Pat said...

Dena, Happy Birthday, I remember when you, Rusty, Jenny and all the rest of your class were just little tikes. Take time to enjoy yourself with Julie, Barb and your mom on your special day. 30 isn't so bad, if i remember right! Take care.

About The Caddo Tribe said...

We are still thinking about you and the girls everyday. We are still praying for you too. I hope you enjoy your birthday!

Shani and Mike Ginani

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/18/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Julie. Soldiers Angels said...

Dena, I continue to keep you in my prayers and am always so in awe of you. You're doing such an amazing job at making those forward steps that will help you and the girls move through your grief. Counseling is such a good idea and so is the massage. Enjoy your birthday and the pampering. Thats important for your spirit and continued energy with the girls. God bless you Dena. Big Angel hugs from the Northwest.


Trish said...

Dena, Hope you have a wonderful Birthday - it was good to see an update from you - we all feel as though you are 'our' family, too - take care of yourself and those beautiful girls - God bless you each and every day -
With Love, Prayers and Blessings,
Rome, GA

Anonymous said...

Dena - I hope you have a great birthday, and totally relaxing massage. I remember when I turned 30, we lived in Germany as my ex-husband was in the Army, and I was the oldest of all the Army wives that we hung around with... back then to them 30 was like being 50... they made me feel older than I was... but now - I'd love to be 30 again. Enjoy - have fun - laugh - cry - be silly - giggle - and relax for at least one day. Rob will be happy to watch you enjoying yourself.

Anonymous said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Thirty is nothing to sweat about. Go out and have an awesome time, and celebrate your birthday any way you want! Eat an extra piece of cake for me! Best wishes, and take care.
The Soutters

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you posted again, I have been wondering how you and the girls are doing. Happy 30th to you. I'm also glad that you'll be living with family for a while. They'll be there to hold you up when you need it. I'm grateful to them for that.
Prayers continue for comfort for you now. I think of you everyday, hoping that you are coping with all that has happened.
Hang in there.

Carol Dzurenko

Carol said...

Happy Birthday Dena, You girls have fun. You will do good raising your girls,Rob will be watching over you. I think the counseling will be good too. You continue to amaze me, your writing is a type of counseling also. Hang in there. Carol

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday and prayers are still being said for you and those darling little girls!

Anonymous said...

Hello Dena
Happy Birthday and hope you all have a merry Christmas. You will survive 30 it really only gets better from this point on and so much more fun.

Anonymous said...

30 is the new 20 and at 36 I'm starting to believe 40 is the new 29! take care

Stephanie from Fisher House said...

Hey Dena,

Just want you to know that I am thinking of you and your family and I pray for you guys every night. I hope to one day make it out to Nebraska to see you when my chemo is over. You know I'm always an email or phone call away if you need someone to talk to.

vangogh said...

Happy Birthday Dena. from one who is in the 'new 60's' i can say that 30 is a piece of cake. of course, i didn't have to tackle my 30's with a broken heart.

so glad you have a good support system to get you through. The massage will be awesome. it's amazing how much tension we can hold inside. let it go.

peace and blessings to your and the girls. and once again, thank you for your noble sacrifice.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dena,
just dropping by to ask how you are doing. I hope each day is more bearable and that you and your girls find the peace and comfort that you need to get through these hard times.

Quinn and Melanie said...

Happy Birthday on Tuesday!! 30 is no big deal just wait until you are closer to 40 like myself and then we shall talk. :) I think about you and the girls all the time. I think this will be the hardest time for you and the the girls because the reality of Rob being gone is coming to the surface. At least that is what my mom mentioned to me, that after everything settled down and it was time to get back to what was suppose to be "normal" after my dad passed it was hard for her. Her normal was with my dad, so I can completely empathize & sympathize with you because I watched my mom go through it. Your strength in God and your "Superman" will get you through this and you always have all of us here sending thoughts and prayers your way.

Enjoy your special day on Tuesday. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! God Bless you and the girls!

Melanie, Quinn, Lauren & Meghan

Pamela @ Frugal Vet Tech said...

A late happy birthday to you!

Anonymous said...

Dena - Happy Birthday! And turning 30 is great! No telling what adventures may be ahead for you but I'm sure God has his plan. Enjoy the pampering on your Birthday and the good company of your family.
Just know that you and the girls remain in our prayers.
Merry Christmas!
Dean and Nanci Gissler

Carla Gamblin said...

My Dearest Dena

I was just listening to a link that a coworker sent me and would like to share it with you.

I thought of you as I listened to the words and read tha captions. My prayer tonight is that God will give you the strength for the coming days.

As I think about all we Americans have to be thankful for this Christmas season, the tears are flowing for all that has been lost to get to this point. Saying THANK YOU seems so small when I think about what you have been thru these past weeks. Plese know that I am truely thankful for your sacrifice as well as those of many others.

Long-time RN said...

Hello Dena,

Just stopping by to say we're thinking of you and the girls. Thanks for updating, good to read you're getting settled and are looking into counseling. A belated Happy Birthday! Take some extra time and nurture yourself in the coming months. Continued prayers for strength and healing in the days ahead.

Trisha said...

Randall and I are visiting Nancy and Ryan; we've been sharing stories and fond memories of you Rob. I wanted to share this with you and let you know that you and the girls are on our minds. We are thankful you have family for the holidays but I wanted you to know that your friends send you their best, too.

artillerywifecq said...

My thoughts are with you. My husband is a captain with the 10th mountain div. He has been deployed 3 times now, most recently returning in October after a 15 month deployment to Iraq. I have only been able to read a few of your entries before I couldn't see anymore. I can only imagine that phone call from Rear D. You are so very brave and wonderful and you made the right choice. We too had that discussion what to do if the worst happened. I can not imagine actually facing that choice and making that discussion. God bless you! You are indeed a superwoman!

Teresa said...

I remember after my dad died when I was 8, my mom said it took just about a year to get all the paperwork changed over so give yourself some leeway so you don't try to get it all done right away.

the Joneses said...

Dena, Happy Birthday! Enjoy your special girl's day out with your moms, Julia, and friends! Thanks for continuing your blog. May you feel God and Rob watching over you each day. They're sure to be proud of you and will keep you and the girls close. Please know that you are loved by many here on earth, too.
You're in our thoughts & prayers,
Cheryl & Monty

Jodee Leader said...

Dena -- My co-worker recently gave me your blog address. First, I am so sorry for your loss. I am so glad you have your girls at this very difficult time.

Second, Happy Birthday. Enjoy the spa day you have planned! You deserve a day of relaxation!

Anonymous said...

Dena, just wanted to let you know that I am constantly thinking of you and your family. Every morning as I drop my daughter off at Judy Lindsley's I see your parent's house and wonder how you are doing. I hope you got to enjoy your birthday and wish you and your girls a Merry Christmas and a healthy 2009. Take care of yourself.

Nataly (Boruch) Sanley

Michelle R. Nelson said...

Dear Dena,

I am glad to hear that you and the girls are settling in with your brother and sister-in-law. One thing the girls and I all said while we were in Nebraska is what a truly fabulous family you have. I know it did my heart and mind well to know that your every need would be attended to with your family so nearby and so thoughtful and loving.

Please know that you are in our prayers always.

Love and friendship,

Anonymous said...

Dena, Happy Birthday!

ZM said...

Just want to wish you a blessed 30th birthday Dena. May it be filled with lots of love and hugs.

Bonnie Lacy said...

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to Dena!
Oh, man, I'm not a songwriter!

You get the idea!

Love you and a Blessed Christmas, also, to you and all!

And thanks for updating.

Rich and Bonnie

Jackie Fjell said...

Dena-Have an awesome 30th!! Believe me girl, that's so NOT old!! I speak from years of experience! Give those sweet little girls a hug.......Love and prayers........Jackie and Joe

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Dena!!! Cindy N

Michelle said...

I just wanted to say Happy Birthday, thank you and God Bless You.

~ a fellow Army Wife

Jaime Pachta said...

Hi Dena!
Just wanted to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY today. I fealt a little weird when I turned 30, but now I realize that 30 is young! :-) I like what you said...30 is the new 20! When I was a kid and my parents were in their 30's, I thought that was old. Now I know what my kids are thinking. Ha Ha! Enjoy your birthday, and celebrate the best gift that Rob has given you...your children. Take care and have a great Christmas. Too bad we all couldn't be together on Christmas like we used too, but I wish you and your family all the best. Love, Jaime

Anonymous said...

Dena ~ Have a Happy Birthday and enjoy your "ladies day out"!
You are blessed with such a loving family and you also have a new "extended family" that will continue to pray for you and the girls.

Wishing you a Blessed Christmas!
Connie Boruch

Amy Frelly (Eric's sis) said...

Wishing you a very happy birthday with your family.....I have so many happy times with my daughter getting mani's and pedi's!
And if 30 is the new 20...then 40 is the new 30, yea!
As always, Payers for you all.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Dena. Keeping you all in our prayers.

Theresa O. said...


I know that this is a difficult time.. I can't imagine all the feelings and thoughts that are going through your mind. I found this most profound text that was found in an Irish cemetery on a headstone...

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
Love leaves a memory no one can steal.

May you remember all the funny and wonderful memories that you and Rob shared.

Know you and you're family are always in my thoughts and prayers. Have a truly Blessed Christmas season.

Theresa O.

Long-time RN said...

Dena and Family,
Stopping by to wish you a Blessed Christmas.

Hope you and the girls are settled in and are meeting challenges as they arise.

Wishing you times of peace and joy during the holiday season as well.

Your family remains in thoughts and prayers.