June 11, 2005 is a day that Stephanie Lee will never forget.
"I kept waiting for him to send me an instant message, had my cell phone waiting for him to call. It's still unbelievable to this day that he's gone," Lee said.
Two years later, Stephanie says the loss of her 25-year-old husband Terrance hasn't gotten any easier.
"He always said he'd rather die fighting for his country rather than die out here on the streets," mother Dinah Lee said.
Because of his ultimate sacrifice, Terrance will never meet his 18-month-old daughter, Marshelle.
"I can instill memories in her and pictures, but it's not better than having a daddy to hold you and kiss you and love you," Lee said.
But the biggest challenge may be for Stephanie, and it's one she shares with thousands of other military wives.
"We all relate in the same way of the loss of a loved one. We have to climb in bed every night, by ourselves, and rubbing our hand on that cold spot."
And as balloons fly away in Terrance's honor, Stephanie Lee says there are qualities of her husband that she will always be able to see in her children.
"A sense of honor, a sense of respect, and a sense of responsibility to do what you have to do," Lee said.
More than 3,500 troops have died in Iraq since the war began. Stephanie Lee says her best advice to military families is to take any and every opportunity you can to show your soldier you care.