Those words in the header are from CPT Rob Yllescas' young daughter, Julia. Rob's wife Dena has a new entry up on the site that she has faithfully kept since her beloved husband Rob was mortally wounded one year ago:
I wish this date was never on my calendar….I think I’ve decided that one year later is worse than when it actually happened. The reason I say this is because when I got the call, everything else was run on complete adrenaline. I thought moment to moment, hour to hour. I was praying for the best and hopelessly optimistic. I had no other choice. I KNEW Rob was going to be ok. He had to be. A year later, dreadfully anticipating this day and the next 34, I know the outcome and there is nothing I can do to change it. It’s a helpless feeling, making you feel sick. Two days ago, I was thinking “This was the last time Rob called home and I heard his voice.” For the life of me, I can’t remember what we talked about that day. I’m sure it was the “same old same old” but I just wish I could remember exactly the conversation. I wish I could have told him NOT to go out on the mission 2 days later. If we only knew…..Then all day yesterday, I kept counting down the hours until “doom day”. Today I’m going for a massage. I planned it for 11 am. It’s an hour massage. When I get done, it will be noon. The exact time I got the phone call. I figured, being relaxed will hopefully get me through that time. It’s crazy that even though that day was so hectic, I can still remember it so vividly. It’s so surreal. Even one year later, it’s hard to believe. As much as I didn’t want this to happen, God has a bigger plan. There was a purpose he gave Rob to me for the short amount of time he did. Although I may never know the complete reason, I have figured out a few things. Before I met Rob, there is no way I could have handled a situation like this the way I have. He taught me how to live independently and gave me the confidence in living life without him through his 3 deployments. He taught me to “suck it up and drive on”. He showed me that through hard work and determination, anything was possible. He made an impression on everyone he crossed paths with. He would fill a room up with his presence. And to this day, I still feel his presence. I have no doubt he is up in heaven, guiding me. The path I thought I would be taking with Rob took a major detour and now I’m taking the journey of life without him. However, through all the ups and downs, he’s been there. I’ve been blessed over and over even after this tragedy. ...
There is so much more in this entry. If you do not know this Captain, or his family, you really should take the time to read their whole site. I have written about them all before. Captain Yllescas, and his precious family Dena, Julia and Eva are one of the main reasons I do what I do. Yes, as I read her words, and come to know and love the Gold Star Families, it rips my heart out. It is a HUGE reminder of how much our families give in this Global War on Terror so other young wives, other young children, may live lives free from tyranny. The Gold Star Families always humble me by the grace with which they face every new day in their new realities of so many 'firsts.'
Go read the rest of this piece here. Dena gave me permission to share this with you. These families matter so much. They MUST be heard. They must be remembered and honoured.
Thank you Dena, Julia and Eva. My debt of gratitude to you all is without measure. We all stand for you.