Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day

Wow.  Memorial Day took on a whole new meaning for me this year.  I am so blessed to have amazing, supportive friends who came to Nebraska to spend Memorial Weekend with me.  When I turned 30, my friend Karen said that we needed to do something special for my 30th birthday sometime during this year.  I thought about it and decided that Memorial Weekend would be a great time.  Not only could we have a 30th birthday bash but I would also have my military friends by my side for what I knew would be a very emotional day.  Those who flew arrived Thursday and the others drove in Friday.  Friday evening we got a limo and went to a local winery in Lincoln.  It was an absolute blast!  Saturday we went to a club and Sunday we went to the movies and then came back to my house and played Charades.  I don't think I have laughed so hard in ages!  My trampoline was also a popular favorite.  :)  Monday we drove to Osceola for the Memorial Service held at the cemetary.  It was a beautiful ceremony.  My friend Kim took some amazing photos.  Thank you, Kim!  Rob's grave was decorated so beautifully with all sorts of red, white, and blue.  It was a very overwhelming feeling knowing my husband was one of those being REMEMBERED.  However, it really makes you take a step back and realize what a significant part Rob and all the other military who gave the Ultimate Sacrifice have played in the fight to keep our America free.  Rob told me once that he joined the military and went to war so that our children  would never have to.  Once again, pride filled my heart.  Thank you to those who have paid the Ultimate Sacrifice and thank you to those who continue to serve.  Without them, we could be living in a much different country.  


Kim Decker said...

Thanks for having us this weekend! We had a blast sharing some good times with you, but most important, we were just glad to have a chance to wrap our arms around you and let you know how much we all love you.

This Memorial Day was definitely bittersweet. I was really glad to have the opportunity to honor Rob and give him the remembrance and attention he deserves. On the other hand, it brought a tear to my eye to see such loss and grief through my viewfinder. he pictures don't really do justice to the moment.

We love you Dena and continue to be proud of you. If I could have 30 seconds to deliver one message to Rob, I think I would take my time to tell him how proud he would be of you and all that you have become. Your strength and resiliency is an inspiration. I think you have honored Rob's memory in a way that deserves my respect. I know Rob would be so proud of you.

Anonymous said...

What beautiful pictures!!! I can not even imagine the honor you felt for your husband and our country! Rob paid the ultimate price for our freedom and he will never be forgotten nor will you and your girls for your sacrafice. I as a fellow army wife would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your family and your husband.

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 05/27/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Jenny said...

I would like to thank you for the sacrifices you have made for our country as well. You don't know me, but I continue to pray for healing for you and your girls. Your pride and your faith continue to inspire me. Much love and happiness to you and the girls.

Paige Tyler said...


This was a beautiful day and I was honored to be able to spend it with you and your girls. Memorial Day has taken on a new meaning for me and I was nearly overwhelmed with feelings of graditude and love.

Thank you for letting me be a part of your day!

The Todd Davidson Family said...

Emotions take over when reading your depiction of the Memorial Day holiday. Rob has touched so many of us as have you and your strength. We do thank Rob for all that he has given to us and for the ultimate sacrifice he paid. You are a lucky woman to have had such an amazing husband and Father of your children. We all know that military wives and husbands are special ~ I guess we didn't realize just how special until it happened to someone we knew. Thank you to you, Rob, and all of the military families in the USA and abroad!

The Bender Bunch said...

This Memorial Day, as all should be, was an amazing day of reflection on those that we are forever inspired by, indebted to, and humbly honor every day of our lifes. Your family has and continues to be in our hearts. This Memorial Day it was beautiful to see all the love and support you and your girls have. Thank you so much for the love, the sacrifice, and your openness into your World. Although it is one that has made us stop and think, cry, get angry...it has also been one that inspires, loves, brings smiles because of your beautiful Faith, strenght, and soooo adorable girls. We love you Yllescas Girls and we honor our Rob, your families, now and always.
God Bless you all.

On a lighter note....THANK YOU for letting us be a part of your Memorial Day weekend and you were so right, it was the perfect time and the perfect place. Tell Julia I LOVED the stories and am just a phone call away....

Again, God Bless your beautiful family, Dena. WE LOVE YOU!

Love to all,
Karen, Craig, Logan, and Zach

Heather said...

Wow, looking at the first picture brought tears to my eyes and then to see your darling daughters in red, white, and blue really turned the tears on.

Memorial Day for me has always been a day of rememberance and sorrow for those who have lost loved ones and those who have paid with their lives for MY freedom. However, this year, knowing your story, made me stop even longer to pray and give thanks.

Rob was an amazing man, from what I have read in your blog. His sacrifice is a gift to all of us. I know it has been hard for you and your girls, but I thank God for your husband and soldiers like him each and every day!

May God continue to watch over you, Eva, and Julia. Rob is, I know and I hope you feel his warm rays of love each day. Take care!

Heather in Helena, MT

Nancy said...

I am so glad you were able to spend time with all the girls this weekend, and wish I could have been a part of it. Kim did get some great photos- thank you for sharing those. I know I'm a few days late saying this to you, but Ryan and I thought about you guys on Memorial Day and tried to focus on all the great memories we have, rather than mourning too much... With so many great stories and memories to choose from, we managed pretty well. We love you guys and we are so proud of you, Dena.

Anonymous said...

You are truly an elegant women. You have such class. I want to thank you for your service as well as your husbands'. You are not forgotten.
I was glad to read that you had such a great time. That is awesome. Take care.

Anonymous said...

The photos of you and the girls at Robs grave on Memorial Day just break my heart Dena. This Memorial Day had a much deeper meaning for me this year as I thought of the sacrifice that your family has made. I'm so grateful to Rob for standing in the gap for our freedom. I'll never forget that sacrifice nor the toll that it has taken for you and your girls.

So glad to know that you are able to find joy with your friends and family. You deserve all the joy you can find.

God bless you and keep you in his hands.

Carol Dzurenko
Powder Springs, GA

Jackie Fjell said...

Hi Dena-I haven't written for quite a while, but have checked your blog at least once a day. You continue to amaze me! We saw you at the cemetery Monday--you and the girls look wonderful!I echo the comments of others--the thanks to Rob & all his comrades and how meaningful the ceremony was. It was bittersweet for me as well--it was the first time my Dad's name was on the roll call of our heroes. I've gone to the Memorial Services since I was little (MANY years!!!), and in more recent years with my Dad, so it was hard. I can't imagine what it's like for you, but I know you face it with grace as you've done througout the entire situation. I did take a flag that was by my Dad's grave and put it by Rob's--it belongs there and conveys our feelings--Thanks for his service. Take care.......Love and prayers, Joe and Jackie

Liz said...

I was thinking of you alllll day. And put the family back on the prayer requests. He will always be remembered in this house along with the others. You all are amazing...

brat said...

Always remembered and honoured - every single day.

With respect, gratitude and love.

Anonymous said...

Dena, you don't know me. I was one of those who began reading your blog as a result of seeing a mention of it on the milblogging.com website, when your husband was first injured and I followed your updates of his condition until that very sad post informing us of his death. I continue to check in periodically to see how you are doing, and I pray for you and your family regularly.

I wanted to let you know about a song that I heard that always reminds me of you. It's called "I Want You to Live" by George Canyon. He's a Canadian country music singer, and he wrote this song about a military wife receiving news about her husband's death. The ending of the song always affects me, because I can imagine Rob saying those words to you.

When she got the news
The phone hit the floor
She fell to her knees and cried his name
He had just kissed her lips
And both of the kids
Their lives will never be the same
At the end of her hardest day
The only words she could say were

I want you to live, I want you to love
I wanna go back to the way it was
To hear you say my name again
I wanna see your smile again
I want you to live

Takes all of her strength to go through his things
It feels like she’s holdin’ him again
The letters he wrote the books that he’d read
and some of the shirts still have his scent
The picture in Florida
she holds to her heart and cries out loud

I want you to live, I want you to love
I wanna go back to the way it was
To hear you say my name again
I wanna see your smile again

Lying awake in the middle of the night
Trying not to let the kids hear her cry
She prays for answer or some little sign
She closes her eyes
and swears she
hears him say

I want you to live, I want you to love
I want you to go on and not give up
I want you to live, I want you to try
I want you to know that I’m alright
I want you to fall in love again
I wanna see you smile again and again
I want you to live

I tried looking for an audio version of the song but I can't find it. You can hear it in the video on YouTube.


I find the video very distracting, because what's happening in the video doesn't always match the lyrics, and you have dialogue accompanying the music at times. So I would recommend just listening to it, without watching it. I'm sure that your husband could have said those last words to you.

God bless you and comfort you.

Toni said...


My heart is in my throat, my husband made it back from Afghanistan a few weeks ago, home to my 3 girls and myself. His tour was during the same time as Robs. He is a Major in an Engineering Unit.

I look at the pictures of you and your girls and want to reach out and hug you. I wish it could make sense, I wish we could take so much of it back. But because I know my husband, I know Rob in some way, and your husband with pride, and honor served his country, and willing sacraficed for the safety and freedom of others.

I want to so much let you know how you have honored him by continuing on with grace and strength. I ache for you and your girls as I have lived through the fear you faced, but certainly not through the heartbreak of your loss.

Please know you and your girls will always be in my prayers!!

I know this is not the road you chose, but Rob would be honored and proud of you..I hope each day provides you with increasing peace and joy.


Shawni said...


I first started reading your posts when a mutal friend of ours mentnioned your husband had been injured and that this blog was created. I live in DC, my husband is stationed at Bolling AFB, you might remember my post from back then, but if not, I just wanted to say that you are an AMAZING woman. You are doing everything right and you are so strong.

I think that your Memorial Day/Birthday was just wonderful. I am sure your husband is watching over you smiling.

As one military wife to another, you have and continue to encourage me with your strength. When I am sad or missing my husband (he is leaving for Afghanistan soon), I will remember you and your incredible strength. You have been a true inspiration.