My Quadruple Whammy

This is my fourth Christmas without my son, Davey.

He was a Phoenix Police Officer killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.

Many people told me the first year after his death was going to be the worst.  And it was bad.  So I was hoping that what people told me was true and the coming years would be better.  It surprised me a little when the second year was just as tough – the permanence of the situation was starting to become a reality so the pain was different but just as intense. Same thing happened on the 3rd.

This is my fourth year – and it’s happening again.  So I’m giving this time of year a name – my Quadruple Whammy.

One punch, two punches, three punches and then – the final punch.

First comes Davey’s son, Micah’s birthday in the beginning of November.  I still don’t want to believe that Davey will never be at any of Micah’s birthdays, graduations, wedding, or hold his grandchildren.  We have all lost so much.

Next comes Davey’s birthday.  Great memories laced with the pain.  He should have had 50 more birthdays.  We have been robbed.

Then, Thanksgiving.  There are times when I struggle to say, “Happy Thanksgiving” to people.  For me, it’s compounded by the fact that my father died on Thanksgiving 41 years ago.  It takes work for me to be thankful on Thanksgiving.

And then the final whammy – Christmas.  So many great Christmas’ with Davey!  He was a light in my life and now it’s hard to ignore the darkness.  So I focus on how grateful I am for the birth of God’s son, Jesus, my Savior.  Jesus is the light of the world and the hope he gives me lights up the dark places in my life.

I’ll just say this right out loud for me and for people like me – I’ll be glad when New Years Eve is over and another holiday season is past.

People like me are called Survivors.  I’m in the process of learning just how much surviving goes into this.  Every year, we have to ‘survive’ the holidays and birthdays and other special days.  We never know when something is going to reach out of a perfectly normal celebration and punch us in the gut.  It comes out of nowhere and spins us into the dark hole of pain we had hoped we left behind.

You have heard this from me before and you are hearing it again because it’s still true.  I have discovered that the best way for me to survive and deal with the whammies is to focus on all the good I had in my life before Davey was killed and all the good I still have.  When I focus on all I have lost, the pain intensifies.

I have also decided to get as close to God as I can so he can comfort me and counsel me each time my heart breaks a little more.

Because my quadruple whammy is not going away.

Miss you, Davey.  Love you.

#8144loveyou

I’m Struggling to be Thankful

It’s been harder to be thankful these last 3 Thanksgivings.

These last three years have been the most difficult years of my life.  There has been so much pain and sorrow.

So many tears.

It’s hard to be thankful when there is this painful emptiness in my life where my son, Davey, used to be.  He lived his life large so he left a huge hole when he was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.

Smiling, joking, making plans – he brought his own unique light into my world.  He was great at bringing new, fun people into our lives.  He always had room for one more – or ten more – friends in his life.

It’s also hard to be thankful when I see how our culture is treating my Brothers and Sisters in Blue.

Hunting you down.

It feels like all the crazies of the world have been let loose on one target – and that target wears blue.

Evil keeps crawling out of the smelly, rotten holes it was hiding in – showing us all again why we so desperately need our Family in Blue to stand up for what’s right.bless-our-police

And then it becomes even harder to be thankful when I think of all of the families and friends of our fallen brothers and sisters.

I’ve been there.

I am there.

It’s not a place you ever want to be.

And the number of us is growing quickly.  Much too quickly.

This dark cloud of sadness is moving over more and more of our Blue Family.

Every news report of every fallen officer brings it all back.

That day.

That call.

The shock.

The grief.

The nightmare.

The horrible reality.

But….

then……

when I think about the very special gift I was given 38 years ago,

it’s very hard not to be thankful.

When I focus on the over-34-years that I was blessed to have Davey in my life, it’s hard not to smile.

And I’m thankful for every minute.

I’m thankful to our Father God who has been walking closely beside me through this dark time – comforting me and drawing me closer to him.

I’m also thankful for our many family and framily members who have loved us and cared for us and are still praying for us today.  We share awesome memories.  Together, we are figuring out how to move forward.

daves-squadI’m very thankful for our Family in Blue – you really showed up!  And you haven’t left.  You are also loving us and caring for us and praying for us.  We share awesome memories of Dave as well and, together, we are strong enough to face tomorrow.

Together, we can be thankful for what we had…

and what we still have…..

during this week of Thanksgiving.

Love you!

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

Happy 38th Birthday, Davey

This coming Tuesday would have been Davey’s 38th Birthday.

Many of the reports on the media said he was 35 when he was killed in the line of duty on May 19, 2016.  They got that wrong.  Remember this whenever you read something from the media – they aren’t good with details.  They subtracted years and didn’t care about months.

But we care a lot about the months.

We didn’t know how short of time we would have with him.  Every month was precious.

That’s one of the things we all loved about Dave, wasn’t it?  He made every day count.  He had the gift of making the most of every opportunity to have fun and create memories.  We could always count on him to be thinking up something fun to do or somewhere interesting to go.

One of my favorite birthday party memories was his 10th birthday.  He invited 20 of his closest friends – yes, even back then, he had a lot of friends – and we all went to a park.  He had enough boys for all kinds of teams so they played basketball and baseball until it got dark, only stopping long enough to gobble down some hotdogs and cake.  Davey loved hanging out all day with his ‘brothers’. cardinals-2006-with-dave

A home Cardinals game landed on his 25th Birthday so we celebrated during the tailgating before the game.  You’ll notice this was before the no-beer pong rules.   How he loved his Cardinals!

38 years ago on the day Davey was born, there was an air quality alert for Phoenix.  Lots of pollution in the air.

I remember looking out the window of the hospital with my newborn son in my arms wondering if it was wise to bring a new life into this kind of world – a world where we have to be careful about breathing too much of the air.

When we look at what’s happening currently in our culture, there are probably some new parents wondering the same thing for different reasons.

But now I know there are much worse things than bad air quality.

There is a gravestone with my son’s name on it.

I go there almost every week.  Not because I believe he’s there –  I know where he is and he is happy there.

I visit his spot just trying to make sure that it looks as good as it can being out in the middle of wind and sand and sprinklers.  He died honorably, giving his life to protect and serve others and I want to do what I can so his spot reflects that when people stop.  The cemetery staff has told me that this fallen officer area is the most visited section of their cemetary.

Two years ago, the Cardinals played an away game on Davey’s birthday and his tailgating buddies decided to watch the game at Davey’s spot at the cemetery.  They invited a bunch of us to tailgate with them.  I’m not sure that has been done before but Davey would have loved it!  He also would have had something clever and funny to say about the extremely inconvenient lack of bathrooms in the cemetery.

Each year on Davey’s birthday, my family and framily join together to release balloons in remembrance of a very special man we all miss.  After writing my message of love on my balloon and letting go of the string, I love watching all of the balloons rise peacefully into the sky.  I can’t help wondering how much Davey knows of what has gone on down here on earth.  God doesn’t tell us a lot of details in the Bible about what heaven will be like so much of it is left to our imagination.  Personally, I don’t think people in heaven have very much contact with the ones they have left behind.  It’s God that is in daily contact with us and I believe he sometimes sends us signs and dreams that he knows will comfort us and bring good memories of those we have lost.  But, it’s possible, that on Davey’s birthday, God opens the portal of heaven to let Davey see all of us smiling up at heaven sending him messages of love.

That idea makes me smile.

Love you, Davey.

Miss you.

#8144loveyou

I Was Surprised

That was the first time I realized what a blow Davey’s death was to our Blue family and to the whole city of Phoenix.

This was much bigger than family and friends and people who knew him.  This was my whole big blue family grieving.  This was the metropolitan city of Phoenix feeling the loss.  I had never experienced that amount of serious grief and pain in one room.

Unbelievable.

The speakers at Davey’s funeral were awesome and I appreciated everything people shared.

I did not expect to be surprised by a few things that people shared.  I knew Davey well and spent a ton of time with him.  As his mother, I thought I knew all about him.  But two things that were shared were not things I expected.

One of them is Davey’s Legacy of Love – he made a big deal out of saying ‘love you’ to his squad members before he left on a call and he would stand there, waiting for them to say it back to them.  I knew Davey always said it to me, I just didn’t know that it was the last thing that he said to everyone that he cared about in his life.  I didn’t know that he had his whole squad of tough police officers saying it to each other before they left on a call.  I also didn’t know at the time of his funeral how Davey’s legacy of love was going to totally change the journey we have been on since that day.  Love is the answer.  God has infused love with a magic that provides strength and comfort in the worst situations.  I never experienced that until Davey was killed.

The other thing that surprised me was how many of the speakers talked about Davey sharing his faith.  I shouldn’t be surprised because he had a very strong faith.   I just never heard him sharing his faith with other people so I didn’t realize he talked about God as much as he did.  Now I realize that, if he cared about you and he wasn’t sure you believed in Jesus, he would bring it up….often.  In fact, he didn’t let the subject die, he kept talking about it.  He would challenge his friend’s beliefs and unbelief.

How awesome!  It’s just another reason why I’m proud of the man Davey was.  Davey accepted Jesus as his Savior as a child and continued to grow in his faith through the rest of his life.  In this picture, Davey and my husband, Dave, are at a Promise Keeper’s Christian Men’s Rally.  Promise Keepers taught men all about living a life of integrity and keeping their promises.  Davey learned that lesson very well – those of you who knew him already were aware of that.

God provided a great church family for us which was the village that helped grow Davey’s faith.  Davey went to church camp and mission trips every year – living out his faith and having a great time doing it.  This picture is of one of the groups of kids that went on a church mission trip when Davey was in high school.  He is in the back row next to Jay Van Gelder who spoke at his funeral.  And Kristen is in the front row.  We had no idea that they would marry not too many years after this picture was taken.

Davey sets a good role model for those of us who believe.  We need to share our faith and what we know to be true – and we need to keep sharing it.

And do it all while we love people.

Just like Davey did.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

Dust

My dreams were crushed.

The vision of what my future here on earth was going to be blew apart.

All of the smiles and love and good times that I expected to have with my son, David Glasser, were ripped away on May 18, 2016 when he was shot and killed in the line of duty.

There are places in my life that are filled with disappointments from all I have lost.  Actually, calling them disappointments is like calling a hurricane a little rainstorm.  I’m disappointed when my team doesn’t win, I’m disappointed when a friend doesn’t text me back – those are disappointments.

Davey’s death caused devastation.

It was a crushing blow.

All that was left of my hopes and dreams of his future and my part in it was dust.  How do I deal with the dust?  What do I do with this leftover little bit of an extremely important part of my life?

I didn’t know.  I just knew I didn’t want to go down the angry and bitter road that I’ve seen some survivors go down.  I didn’t want to go the hopeless route, blaming others for my unhappiness.

I didn’t know what to do with the dust so I gave it to God.  I trusted that the Creator of all Things could do something with the dust …..and he has.  As I have watched, I am seeing him begin to create a new part of me in the empty space – something stronger, more compassionate, increasingly solid and based on his truth.  He has helped me refocus my eyes off of this world which is not my home and onto my next ‘forever home’.

God has given a purpose to my dust and is remolding me through the devastation that has happened in my life.  It’s very evident that he’s not done.  He is in the process of re-creating what my future looks like on this earth.

For now, that is enough.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

Stepping on Landmines

“Do you have any children?”

It’s a natural, ‘getting to know you’ question asked pretty early on in our first conversations with people.

It’s a landmine when I meet people who don’t know about the tragedy that blew my life apart 3 years ago when my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.

Yes, I want people to know me and I want them to know about Davey and his death.  It’s just a tough thing to bring up in the middle of a conversation with someone I barely know.  Depending on the emotions rolling through my heart that day, talking about Davey can start the tears rolling down my face.  That’s a real conversation stopper.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to talk about Davey and all the great things about him.  But sometimes on some days, there are very strong emotions tied to this subject.   When emotions make the situation feel awkward, I move the conversation onto to talking about my beautiful grand darlings – one grandson and two grand daughters.  They always help me smile.

This experience has taught me a couple of things about ‘getting to know you conversations’.  They are not as superficial as they seem.  Most people have various bruised and tender spots in their lives that can be difficult to talk about.  We can’t avoid the landmines because they are often a central part of our lives that need to be included in who we are.  So we share the hurt and we share the emotion and we share the awkwardness.

And – in the end – we know each other a little better.

That’s a good thing.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

My Nightmare

It’s a nightmare that I will never wake up from.

My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  The nightmare started that day.

And it hasn’t stopped.

The first several weeks after Davey’s death, I would wake up every morning and hope that it was all a very bad dream.  I would think about what my day would be like if it had not happened.  Davey would probably be dropping by with his son, Micah, sometime during the day to pick up his dad or to drop something off or just to say hi.   If I didn’t see him, I’d probably get a text from Davey about his plans for having some fun and asking if I could help with some part of it.  He was always planning and doing and inviting other people to join in.

But then I had to open my eyes and realize that it had happened.  Davey had died.

He would not be dropping by or texting.

He would never drop by or text me again.  The nightmare had become my reality.  Every day I have to deal with that reality.

I’ve had people who mean well say to me, “It’s gets easier.  It gets better.”

What part gets easier? What part gets better?

I know I’m getting more used to having him gone…..but that’s not easier or better.

My world has a hole  – and it’s a big hole.  It’s a sad hole.  It’s a painful hole.  The hole is evident every day and it’s not going away.

The nightmare is not getting easier, it’s not getting better.

It’s becoming more real.

I am so grateful to my Father God who walks beside me.  He shines his light of love and grace in the hole.  He gives me hope and a purpose.  He wraps his arms around me as tears roll.  He has given me awesome family and friends who love and support me…..

as I live in the nightmare.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

His Legacy of Love

One of the bright lights in my world went out on May 18, 2016.  That’s the horrible day when my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was shot and killed in the line of duty.

He was a bright light in your world, too, even if you never met him.

I may confuse you with End of Watch dates.  His official date is May 19th but those of us who were with him in the hospital know that he left us on May 18th.  Feel free to use whichever date works for you.

I’m grateful for the medicine and machines that preserved his body on May 18th so that we had some time to say goodbye.  They also made it possible for Davey to fulfill his final wish – he was able to donate multiple organs saving the lives of several more people even after his own death.

Because that’s what heroes do.

He was one of the good guys.  He cared about our community and he committed his life to defending all that is good and right in our world.  He was proud to be part of the thin blue line that stands between the evil ones and the innocent in our country.  He lived a life of integrity and honor while blending in fun and loving life in a unique way that only Davey could do.

His heart was big and open.  Some of you know that because he added you to his group of friends during your first conversation with him. Others of us have known about his big heart for a long time because he loved us well his entire life.

Davey leaves a legacy of love.

He loved God.  He loved his wife and two small children.  He loved his immediate and extended family.   He loved his Blue Family.  He loved his friends.

He loved sports – all of them.  He was obsessed with the Cardinals and in love with the Diamondbacks as well as all ASU sports.

At Davey’s funeral, his best friend on his squad, James Byrd shared the fact that Davey said ‘Love You’ to his squad members every time he left them.  That surprised me. As his mom, I heard Davey telling us that he loved us all the time.  But I didn’t know he had extended this habit to work.

Davey not only told his squad members he loved them several times a day – he also insisted that the squad members say ‘Love you’ back to him.  AND he insisted that they say ‘Love you’ to each other before they left.

Davey knew.

He knew how close they all were to never seeing each other again.  He knew how quickly something could happen and he didn’t want anyone to ever question that he loved them.  He knew it was very important so he badgered his squad members to get into the habit as well.

Now we are all very happy that he did.

Because ‘Love you’ has lifted us up out of a place of deep, dark grief many times these last three years.

‘Love you’ has challenged us to grow even more genuine in our relationships.  We care more deeply and our lives have become interwoven in a solid foundation of love and support.

‘Love you’ has reminded us that we are still here – our watch hasn’t ended yet.  There is work to be done.  Relationships to be built.  People to love.

“Love you’ has helped us survive the worst.  Our Father God has used these two words and all of the things that go with them to give us more faith and more strength and more courage than we had before.

And now we continue to figure out how to move forward, living out Davey’s legacy of love.

He would have wanted it that way.

Miss you, Davey

#8144loveyou

 

My Life Sentence

I have been given a life sentence.

For the rest of my time here on earth, my life will have a big hole in it.  This hole has been getting larger as each year passes since my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on Mary 18, 2016.  He is missing more and more important events and milestones of his family and our family.  He’s not here for first days of school and a new year of flag football.  He doesn’t get the chance to play with tiny new members of our family and birthday parties continue to happen without him.

My life sentence has no end on this planet.  Every hour, every day, every week, every year – he is gone.

I have awesome memories of him, great pictures and  two unbelievably precious grandchildren that remind me of him.  But he’s not here.

And he will not be here.

Usually I try not to think about the fact that, 20 years from now, he will still be gone.  I guess that’s the reality of a life sentence – it doesn’t change.  There is no hope of parole.  There is no break.

I try to focus on all of the blessings I had before Davey was killed and all of the blessings I have now.  But….sometimes… the hole is just too big.  The black hole of grief looms in front of me, making this never-ending path of loss extremely hard to navigate.

This life sentence on earth is a struggle.

So what’s my motivation for getting up in the morning?

Davey is gone but there are so many people still here.  God has shown me that he has a purpose for me here on earth.  There are still a lot of things he wants me to do.  God is very obviously walking beside me down this tough road, giving me strength for the climb and wisdom for the blind curves.

I have also been given the eternal life sentence of being loved and cared for by my good Father God.  This life sentence has already started and it will never end.  There is no grief or loss in my relationship with God.  Nothing can ever separate me from his love.

Davey is no longer experiencing any of these earthly struggles or pain.  He’s in a perfect place with his Father God.

And I will be there, too, someday when my purpose on earth is done.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

When the Answer is No

I asked.

I begged.

The night after my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was shot and was laying in a hospital bed attached to machines while his brain waves gradually disappeared, I felt a level of hopelessness that I had never experienced before.  The pain of the reality of what was happening continued to escalate as each hour passed through that long, dark night.

I was desperate to see God move – he needed to do something.  So I went down to the hospital chapel all by myself, I walked up to the altar and laid face down on the cold tile.   And I begged God for a miracle.

It was becoming increasingly obvious that Davey needed a big miracle.

So I begged.  I have no idea how long I laid there, pleading with God.

At this same time, my husband, Dave, was walking up and down the crowded hallway outside of Davey’s hospital room, asking everyone to pray for a miracle.

There were also three waiting rooms downstairs in the hospital filled with people – many of them praying with us, asking for a miracle.

Every hospital hallway I walked down was filled with people – most of them praying with us, asking for a miracle.

I texted my closest friends and asked them to pray with us for a miracle.

In my mind, I see all of those prayers combining into a huge hand reaching up out of the roof of the hospital, stretching up to heaven, asking our God who holds life and death in his hands to reach down and touch Davey.

We asked.

We begged.

Hours later we received our answer.

And the answer was no.

No more smiles and jokes from Davey.

No more fun and games with Davey.

No to watching my grandchildren grow up with their father’s arms around them.

No to watching Davey and Kristen grow old together.

So many no’s.

There’s a reason why we all listened to Hilary Scott sing “Thy Will” at Davey’s funeral.  Because we asked for a miracle for Davey and God said no.  He has a different plan than we do.

Every day I am reminded that God has a very different plan than mine.  Standing on the rock of God’s love and trusting that he has many great tomorrows waiting for me, I move forward……

– not knowing where this is going.

– not happy about the reality that I now live in.

– not understanding why I have to travel this path.

I move forward, taking my broken heart with me.  I listen and watch as God reveals his plan, one step at a time.

And one of those steps has been the David Glasser Foundation which is all about spreading caring and love in very practical and tangible ways to people who need to understand that our Police Officers are the good guys – they are part of the solution, not the problem.  The foundation is creating non-policing opportunities for our Law Enforcement officers to show how much they care about the kids and their community in one of the highest crime areas of Phoenix.  Because of all the work of our volunteers and the generosity of our donors, we are starting to see the walls come down.  We are beginning to see interactions that build trust.  And respect.  The foundation with Davey’s name on it is helping to improve the health of the community where Davey was killed. .

Is this our miracle?

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou