Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Rob

October is a hard month.  Today was Rob's birthday.  He would have been 32.  A year ago I was talking to him on the phone wishing him a happy birthday.  I didn't know it would be the last time.  I can't help but think what we would have done today for his birthday.  Rob wasn't much on getting gifts, so I would probably have gotten him a card while Julia and Eva made him one, then the girls and I would have baked him his favorite cake (German chocolate) and then we probably would have gone out to eat (I'm guessing Outback since that was one of his favorites).  Days like this are so hard-harder than you expect them to be.  I'm sure all the "firsts" are, I'm just praying they get better each year.  Yesterday I told Julia that today was Rob's birthday.  She got excited and said "Yay!!" And then she caught herself.  I think for a moment, she forgot daddy was gone.  Even after almost a year, it is still easy to forget that he is gone.  I have no doubt that Rob is with us.  I can literally feel his presence.  I just wish I could touch him.  The only thing I can do is continue to move forward.  Rob will always be a part of our lives and he would want us to be happy.  But, in moving forward, I'm also letting go a bit.  Last week, I sold Rob's truck.  That was horribly bittersweet.  That was his "baby".  His pride and joy (besides his children of course!).  He LOVED that truck.  But, it just wasn't practical for me to drive.  My uncle helped me and we posted it on Craigslist.  We found someone on there who, through talking with my uncle, found out about our story.  He refused for me to take a hit on my loan after everything I had been through, and actually paid a couple hundred dollars OVER what I owed on the loan.  He said he had the utmost respect for our servicemen and women and that was the least he could do.  He wired the money to the bank and had a transporter come and get it.  Wow.  There are such good people out there.  But, when I saw the truck get loaded up, my heart was so sad.  Taking the things out of the truck that I knew Rob had put in there, was tough.  His presence was all around that truck.  But I also know Rob did not expect me to keep it.  In fact, I was so nervous driving it.  He was such a perfectionist with it, that I could literally hear him telling me not to do this or that with the truck!  I finally said out loud "Rob, if you don't like how I'm driving your truck, then you shouldn't have died and left me to take care of it. So back off!"  Then I'd hear him reply "I know babe.  You're doing a great job.  I'm just teasing you."   I'm sure people passing by thought I was a crazy lady.  :)  Even though it was still hard to see the truck go, I'm glad I waited until now to do it.  It gave me more time to get used to the fact that Rob wasn't coming back and that the truck truly wasn't practical.  When I told Julia we had sold the truck and they were coming to get it that day, she said "I want to kiss it."  She went over to the truck, kissed it and said "Don't touch that spot."  Then I said to her "Daddy really liked that truck, didn't he?"  And this is what my 8 year old replied with: "Yes, he did.  But it was hard for you to drive it and now you can get a car that YOU want and is easier for you."  Bless her heart.  She never ceases to amaze me.  So, although our daily lives are healing slowly but surely, there are these bumps in the road that cause you to rip the bandage off.  The next couple of months, there will be lots of bandages getting ripped off.  Happy Birthday, Rob.  I know you are having the best birthday celebration!  WE LOVE YOU.

23 comments:

Mom said...

Wow, Dena. You never cease to amaze me!!! I'm so proud of the woman you have become. I know Rob is looking down, and is also, so proud of how you are handling all the ups and downs. You are a fantastic mom, and your girls love you dearly. When they are cranky, and you're at your wits end, remember this. Even tho they love to spend time with grandpa's and grandma's, you are still the one they count on. I pray with God's grace and mercy, the 3 of you have a bright and wonderful future!!! As does Rob, we support you in MOVING ON! We love all 3 of you more than you'll ever know. Here's to wishing you happy days, ahead! Love you, always. Mom

KG2V said...

If Rob was 1/10th the man he comes across as in your blog (and I'm sure he was 100% and MORE) He's having a chuckle about the truck, and saying "Good, she did the right thing"

Kids are amazing, aren't they? So much changes, and they just adapt. You have to love them

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 10/08/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

brat said...

Keeping you ALL in my heart and prayers as you go through all these 'firsts'. And yes, I truly believe that Rob IS with you, cheering you on.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Rob!

Love to you all...

Toni said...

My prayers continue to be with you and your girls.
I am so sorry you have lost Rob and that there is no way to protect you from the pain you experience as you grieve his loss.
Only know that God loves you, and you have many, MANY, people praying for you and the girls.
This military wife and mom will NEVER forget your sacrafice.
I will pray for not only comfort over the next few months, but also for great joy and peace.

Hanging-on-mom

Nancy Christian said...

Happy Birthday Rob. You are not forgotten.

Dena, you never cease to amaze me. You are such a strong woman to write so eloquently and truthfully.

Sipping a glass of wine in your honor.

Nancy

Nancy said...

Happy Birthday Rob.

I know selling the truck was hard... I know this whole thing is hard. Awful. I'm sorry, and I'm so glad you have your beautiful girls to make you smile and touch your heart during all these transitions...

Anonymous said...

Yes, all the "firsts" will be very hard and I'm sure it was hard to see the truck go even though it wasn't practical for you to keep it. Y'all continue to be in my prayers now and for sure in the coming months.

You have a very wise little girl in Julia. God Bless all of you.

Karen said...

Dena, you are such a strong woman. Gosh, it seems like yesterday that Rob drove over and proudly showed Jason that huge truck! And it WAS HUGE! Julia is such a wise soul. She is absolutely right, and Rob would want you to get something good/safe for you.

Happy Birthday, Rob. We miss you.

Karen M

MaryAnn said...

Thank you for sharing all of your sad and beautiful thoughts with us today, Dena.

Happy birthday, Rob! You are forever in our hearts.

Anonymous said...

Dena,

It still hurts so badly. I look forward to your posts, but at the same time I dread them. I love hearing how you and the girls are doing and to reminisce about Rob. However, I also know they will open up the wounds and I will probably cry when I read them. It still hurts. I can only imagine how difficult it has been for you the girls and the rest of Rob's family. At the same time I continue to be amazed at your strength. Thanks for keeping Rob’s memory alive. Beau and I miss him so much.

Love,
Beth and Beau

The Bender Bunch said...

We love you girls. You are doing a wonderful job moving forward and keeping Rob's memory respected and loved so much. Your girls and you are amazing ladies and know we are hugging you all the way from Ohio. Miss you all, Karen, Craig, Logan, and Zach

Shani said...

Mike and I still pray for you and your family everyday. There are still people thinking about you all the time!

Shani Ginani

AFSister said...

*sigh*
and a sniffle....
You're doing a great job, both with the girls and with coping with Rob's death. He would be so proud.

Carren (The Mrs.) said...

Dena, I am rarely at a loss for words, but your blog has really touched my heart. My husband and I followed your story when Rob was initially in the hospital. My husband was seriously wounded in Iraq in 2005. I could not imagine what it was like for you and the decisions you had to make. You truly are an amazing woman. Your children are beautiful and I pray for healing and happiness for each of you.

God's Speed!
Carren Z.

Anonymous said...

Lots of us still out here thinking about and praying for you and the girls

Kris

Chrystina said...

Oh Dena, you are an amazing woman! I am so sorry. How I wish it wasn't so. I am grateful for your bond with your beautiful children. Julia has always been wise beyond her years. I remember her helping Jerald in pre-k with his name. She wrote hers so small and perfect and Jerald's was so wild and huge. She was patient with him. God has blessed you with divine girls. Funny how he knows what we need from day one. Happy Birthday Rob! Keep up the strength. Hold onto what is most important.

Heather said...

Dena,
Oh what a difficult post for you to write and me to read. Gosh, how I wish I could just give you a big hug. Oct. 7th is my daughter's birthday as well and now that I know it is also Rob's, we'll be sure to say a prayer for him each year. You hang in there and know that there are others out there who think you are the strongest woman we know!

Heather in Helena, MT

Lisa J. said...

Oh Dena, you and the girls are doing so well. I am sure Rob is very proud of you all. I cried when I read Julia's response to the news that Rob's truck was sold. Even at such a young age, those little minds are so aware of what's going on around them and what it means. You are doing a great job of helping the girls cope, and I'm glad you're back in NE where you have a big, strong support group too. We continue to follow your story as it unfolds -- thanks for sharing it with us all!

Anonymous said...

May God look down on you and grant you the serenity to continue on for your children, and to let the spirit and memory of their father live brightly in their hearts and souls.

Sincerely,

CW4

Anonymous said...

I know this was a difficult step for you and the girls. In our thoughts and prayers. Happy Birthday Rob!
Jana L Sirois

Kati from southwest Nebraska said...

Dena, I thought I would leave you a comment and let you know I am still thinking of you and your family. My god be with you in those trying times. Time will help ease the pain. Remember all the good times you had with Rob. Take care. You are a very strong women that has gone through alot. Keep your head high and please do keep us updated when you have time.

Heather said...

I love to read your updates. You are truely a strong woman. My Prayers and thoughts are with you and your beautiful girls. You touch my heart with your words. I've got to stop reading your updates while I'm at work, I've used almost a whole box of tissues. Praying for ya'll!

Heather - Mississippi