24 December 2009

Merry Christmas From Heaven

On this Christmas Eve, my heart keeps turning to the families, the heroes of America. As I am preparing to hug my family, I am so aware - as always - that for many families in the US, Christmas will see an empty place at their table.

Dena Yllescas is the wife of Captain Rob Yllescas. Make no mistake about it, Dena IS every bit as much a hero as her beloved husband. Little Julia and Eva are every day as much heroes as their precious daddy. I have written about this family before, and if you don't know their story - and you really SHOULD - you can find Dena's beautiful writing on her home page here.

I am on Dena's mailing list, so every time she writes a new entry, I am notified. Every entry rips my heart out, but there is one that Dena wrote recently that slammed me hard. I asked Dena for her permission to post it here, so that more Americans would get a sense of what Christmas is like for the families left behind. Read on:
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Merry Christmas from Heaven

Last week I went on a much needed "mini vacation" to Texas without the girls. I made a quick trip to Killeen to check on my house (which was in pretty good shape except for some cobwebs and nasty toilets!) then it was off to Dallas for the rest of the weekend. I was able to do some golfing and shopping. I got back last night to a very cranky little girl ( I think she had too much fun with her grandpas and grandmas!) and another girl who wanted to start decorating for Christmas NOW. I have always loved Christmas and tend to have a weakness for Christmas decorations. So, as you can imagine, I was a little overwhelmed with my 6 TUBS of Christmas decorations and 3 Christmas trees!!!! Of course no decorating can be done while Eva's awake because that would just be pointless! So, I told Julia that today I would decorate as much as I could while she was at school and Eva was at daycare and have the Christmas tree ready for her to decorate when Eva goes to bed. This year is definitely going to be interesting with Eva. I have no idea what she's going to do with all these decorations. I'm just hoping not too many get broken!! Anyways, as I was going through our decorations, I came across things that I knew were in the boxes but really didn't want to see them: our christmas stockings with Rob's name on his, ornaments from our first Christmas together, and a Christmas picture frame with a picture of Rob, Julia and me in it. I had completely forgotten about that. It's sad to know that the last time these decorations were put up, Rob was with us (I obviously didn't put any decorations out last year). I do have to chuckle about the last Christmas we had together, I had finally convinced Rob to put up Christmas lights on the house (which mind you I had bought 3 years before and were still in the box). So, he's up on the ladder when all of a sudden the ladder gives way and he crashed onto concrete! It scared me to death. But, besides a sore knee and bruised pride, he was fine. I just assumed that was the last of our Christmas light decorations so I started tearing the clips off the roof. Rob came out and said "What are you doing?! Heck no. I about killed myself putting those stupid things on and I'm going to finish the job." So, up the ladder he went again. Determined that man was!!! And the lights looked great. :) As I continue to go through ornaments, I also come across one that I received from a friend after Rob died. I couldn't have found it at a better time. As hard as Christmas is going to be for us, I know that Rob will be right here. With the ornament, came a poem. It reads:

"Merry Christmas from Heaven"
I still hear the songs
I still see the lights
I still feel your love
on cold wintery nights

I still share your hopes
and all of your cares
I'll even remind you
to please say your prayers

I just want to tell you
you still make me proud
You stand head and shoulders
above all the crowd

Keep trying each moment
to stay in His grace
I came here before you
to help set your place

You don't have to be
perfect all of the time
He forgives you the slip
If you continue the climb

To my family and friends
please be thankful today
I'm still close beside you
In a a new special place

I love you all dearly
now don't shed a tear
Cause I'm spending my
Christmas with Jesus this year
--John Wm. Mooney, Jr

Here's another story for you to prove that Rob is with us: Last week I put Eva down for a nap. She has a stuffed baby doll she sleeps with. When she woke up from her nap, I went in to get her and that doll was sitting on the edge of her cribrail against the wall. I asked her if she did that and she just giggled. I asked her to do it again, and she couldn't. She tried several times. I have no doubt that daddy was showing us that he is with us at all times....(here)

If you know me at all, you know I absolutely believe that love never dies. I KNOW - without a shadow of a doubt - that those we love, and who love us, never leave us. Just a Dena writes often, I know that Rob is watching over those he loves the most, and that will continue. I also KNOW that even though there will tables across America (and in my other home lands...lol) with an empty seat, those who are loved WILL be there, watching over their families.

{{{{{{{{Dena, Julia and Eva}}}}}}}} and all the families who have served our country - who continue to serve - I proudly stand up next to you. God bless the USA, and all of you.

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