I’m Not Happy

I was talking with a friend recently and the topic of whether we were ‘happy’ or not came up. I remembered that I used to ask my husband if he was happy every once in awhile to see what he would say.

But I don’t do that anymore. Since our son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016, I know what his answer would be.

No.

That’s my answer, too.

I have good times and happy moments. I tend to be a positive person with a smile on my face. I know I am blessed in many ways. But the general feeling ‘I am happy about my life’ is gone now that Davey is no longer here. I cannot imagine a time this side of heaven when I would say I am ‘happy’ about my circumstances.

Don’t worry, I’m fine. I’m just being truthful. If you have not lost a child, you may not understand this and I hope you never do. If you have lost a child, you are probably shaking your head ‘yes’ as you read this.

I don’t think the word ‘healing’ fits a situation like mine. My heart is broken and it’s not going to ‘heal’. It’s been over 5 years and my heart remains broken. I’m gradually getting used to living with a broken heart.

I’ve never been much of a crier…..until Davey was killed. Now my eyes fill with tears very easily whenever something touches a piece of my broken heart. Tears stream down my face regularly – especially as I write these blogs. And I know that’s healthy – letting the emotion out and dealing with the grief is a good thing.

I have learned to be grateful for 34 years with Davey because that’s all I’m getting. I am grateful that I’m getting more than 34 years with my daughter and I cherish any time I get to spend with my 4 grand darlings because life is short. We never know. Everything could change tomorrow – or later today. I’ve been there.

The fact that my son is dead will not be changing so I don’t see my overall ‘happiness’ level concerning the circumstances of my life changing, either. That’s just how it is.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

Don’t Get Stuck

That’s one of my main goals.  Don’t get stuck.

I have to figure out how to move forward – even when I don’t want to.

It’s not easy.  My world shattered when my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  Each day that followed was empty and the pain intensified each night. My mind wanted to focus on all of my broken dreams. The future I had expected was filled with fun and great times with Davey is never  going to happen.  What I had lost created a huge hole.

And I wanted to stay there.  That felt like the place I was supposed to be…..

Until I looked at my grand darlings, Davey’s son and daughter.  They have their whole lives to live and their lives cannot be all about what they have lost.  Their future is bright and full of possibilities and I need to be a positive, encouraging part of that future.

I also looked at the rest of my family.  We have all been left behind on this earth to accomplish what God has planned for us.  We have a purpose.  We’re not supposed to get lost in the dark places on this road and live there the rest of our short time on this planet.

So it became one of my goals – don’t get stuck.

It’s not easy, moving forward.  As the list of things Davey is missing grows, so does the sadness of not having him here.  As the years go by I lose more and more parts of him and it hurts.  There are days when I don’t want to go forward because it’s just too much of a struggle.

But it’s worth it.  I have met many people on this tough journey whose worlds have been blown apart by a tragedy…. and they are still living in that tragedy every day.  They are angry and bitter and negative.  Honestly, they just are no fun to be around.  They have traded the good things of today for the pain of yesterday.  They have refused to rebuild their dreams for the future and they are mired down in the dark times of the past.

I know that getting stuck and living like that could be easy to do.  But I’m refusing to go there.  I have found that it really helps me to focus my mind on all the good things I had and all the good things I still have.  When my thoughts start to dwell on all of the good things I have lost, I have to stop myself.  None of that thinking is helpful.  That is the slippery slope that slides into the muck where people get stuck.

Being a part of the David Glasser Foundation has also helped me move forward.  Honoring Davey’s legacy by doing positive things in his name really helps the future look brighter.  Sponsoring sports teams and seeing his name on their jerseys brings a lot of joy to me because Davey played basketball and baseball and loved all sports.

There is still a lot of work to be done.  Not everyone needs to start a foundation, but I have suggested to other people who have experienced a huge loss to think about possible ways they could honor the memory of the person they lost and create a positive future.  College scholarships are a great option to remember someone who loved education and help someone else reach their educational goals.  Sports scholarships are also great to remember someone who loved sports and give other kids a chance to improve their skills in the sport.  Remembering the person we lost by helping someone else can reclaim some of the future that was stolen from us when the person we loved left us.

Rebuilding a positive future.  That’s the goal.  That’s the struggle.

And it’s worth it.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you

It’s Really May 18th

May 18, 2016 – the real date when my son left this earth.

My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  His official End of Watch is May 19th, but he died on the 18th.  You would know that as well if you had seen him.  His body was hooked up to all kinds of machines that were keeping his lungs moving and his heart beating but Davey – the fun, smart, wonderful son, husband, dad, brother and friend  – was gone.  He was already with his Father God.

I am thankful to modern medicine which gave us time to start coming to terms to our new reality.  We had several hours with him in the hospital to figure out how to start to say good-bye.  It helped.

I am thankful that the machines were able to keep his organs alive so that he could fulfill his wish of being an organ donor – giving the gift of life to so many other people.  Our families have been blessed by other organ donors so we know what an important thing this is.  Knowing that helped.

I am thankful for the doctors and nurses who treated Davey with care and respect.  They also were very helpful and understanding to those of us who spent the darkest hours of that night in room next to Davey in unbelief of what was happening.  It helped.

I am thankful for the rooms full of police officers and friends at the hospital who prayed for us and supported us through those awful hours.  It helped.

daves-squadI am thankful for the family and friends all over the country who prayed for us through that night.   I am thankful for all of the people who prayed for us and didn’t even know us.   It helped.

I am thankful for Dave’s squad who, disregarding their own pain, had the worst job of making telephone calls and getting us to the hospital.   I am also  thankful for the Employee Assistance Unit led by Sgt. Dave Osborne.   Both of these teams promised support and they meant it.   It really helped.

I am thankful for the entire Phoenix Police Department who supported us that night any way they possibly us in any way they could.   They parked our cars so we could run right into the hospital, they brought food, they picked up family at the airport, they took care of the press, they drove us home, they never left their watch on Dave’s room and much more.  It all helped.

I am thankful for Pastor Mark Grochoki, one of our pastors at the time, who somehow found a way through the crowds and lines of police to pray for us in a small, dark corner of the hospital lobby.  It was an oasis of peace in a very long, terrible night.  It helped.

I am thankful for the Police Chaplain, Bob Fesmire, who is so clearly called by God to walk families like ours through the most painful hours of our lives. His words of wisdom cut through the shock and helped us move forward.  He prayed for us through the night when we had no words.  I will never forget his prayer as we said our last goodbyes to Davey before leaving the hospital.  I don’t recall the exact words but I remember God reaching out through them to wrap his arms around me to comfort me.  Bob was God with skin on that night.  He really helped.

May 19 is Dave’s official E.O.W but May 18th was his last day on earth.  Now he lives in our hearts and our memories until we see him again in heaven.

I’m not saying that we need to change the date on all the plaques and forms.

I just wanted you to understand why I always use May 18th.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

More Alive

My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.

And he’s more alive now than he ever was on earth.

Because he put his faith in Jesus as his Savior, Davey is in heaven right now with his Father God.  No more evil, no more pain, no more worries.

Davey is with God so he is whole and more happy than we can possibly be.  Here on earth, we have times of joy and fulfillment, but they are fleeting.  The next moment or next hour brings concerns or trials.  We get tired or sick.  We become sore, bruised or broken.  Something that we thought was going to make us happy doesn’t happen and disappointment comes flooding in.

Davey doesn’t have any of that.  There is no evil in heaven, only good.  Only great!

God doesn’t talk about a lot of details concerning heaven in his Word and I think that’s because we just cannot understand how awesome it is.  Our words can’t describe it.  God uses words like ‘mansions’ and ‘streets of gold’ trying to give us an idea of a place like we’ve never seen before.  I think heaven is better than that.  I don’t want a mansion, I just want to hang with God.  I don’t need a street of gold to know that I’m in the exactly right place.

Davey is already in that exactly right place.  He got his reward – that’s how God sees it.  Davey no longer has to deal with the pain and confusion of this world.  He has everything he ever wanted in heaven.  Here’s a picture of one of Davey’s famous smiles – he wears this smile all day every day now.

I believe that people in heaven have very little if any interaction on earth.  People tell me about signs they get from their loved ones that have passed away and I believe that is God.  God is trying to talk to us and guide us and love us every day so he sometimes comforts us with things that remind us of the people we loved and lost.  I’ve had some dreams and signs that I believe are from God on Davey’s behalf.  God knew that they would give me hope and a smile.

When my father passed away suddenly over 40 years ago, three significant things he would have wanted for our family happened right away.  I believe God was rewarding my father’s faithfulness by tying up some loose ends and blessing my family.  I believe there are unusual circumstances where people from heaven come back to visit earth – a couple of those are documented in the Bible.  But usually, our loved ones move on….and I will understand that more when I get there.

The subtitle of this blog is ‘When the Worst Happens’.  Those of us who have put our trust in Jesus know that Davey being killed is not the worst that can happen.  The worst that could happen is Davey – or anyone- dying without accepting salvation through Jesus.

That is the ultimate worst that can happen.

Please don’t let that happen to you.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

Surviving the Worst

If you have had a child die, you know that it is one of the worst things that can happen to you.   For some of us it is definitely THE worst thing that could ever happen to us.

As a young adult, I worked hard at facing my fears and I realized many years ago that the only fear I had left was that something bad would happen to one of my children.  A couple of years after that realization, my daughter was diagnosed with cancer.  It changed her life but it was caught early and there have been no more signs of cancer.

I thought that was enough.  That was my fear coming true and it was a tough, scary time.

I didn’t know a tsunami that far exceeded anything I was afraid of was building up steam and heading my way.  It hit on May 18, 2016 when my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty as he was responding to a robbery call.  The waves of grief and anger and pain roared over my life – foaming, surging and destroying.  They violently ripped away any expectations I had for today and totally decimated my dreams for tomorrow.

The waves roared all night and grew stronger in the darkness.

But they were most painful in the daylight when I could see the desolation they had left.

The holes.

The emptiness.

The loss.

My two fatherless grandchildren.

This storm left my ‘stuff’ but took my son.   And I would give everything I own for one more hour with Davey.

To see his smile.

Hear his laughter.  And his jokes.

And one more ‘love you’.

Surviving the worst has taken away all of my fears.  Because fearing that something bad would happen did not change the facts about the bad things that happened to my children.

Fear is useless.

Fear does nothing but stop us from doing things we should do.

Fear keeps us on the defensive.  It keeps us cowering in the corner.

My prayer for all of us who have experienced the worst is that we will find courage in knowing we have survived.  I pray that we will act on  that courage because we survived for a purpose.  And I pray that we will set aside our useless fears so we can make the time we have left on this planet count.  Because our time is short – often much shorter than we know.

Davey would be extremely proud of the David Glasser Foundation which was created to continue his fight against hate and ignorance and violence.  He would love the reality of all of us working together to push back the darkness – one step at a time.  We are not stuck on yesterday, afraid that something else that’s bad is going to happen today or tomorrow.  It probably will – our fears will not stop it.  But our actions might.

With courage and conviction, we are moving forward, continuing Davey’s battle and making it our own.

The challenge I give everyone today is to figure out how to be a part of the fight for what’s right.  You are welcome to join with us by donating to the David Glasser Foundation or find your own battle.  There is much work to be done to reestablish truth, honor, respect, and love in our country.

May God give all of us the courage we need to do our part in helping to make that happen.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

The Most Difficult Time of the Year

and a little darker.

The pain becomes a little stronger.  It becomes increasingly harder not to focus on what I have lost – all that my family has lost.

David Glasser, my son, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty May 18, 2016.  My journey since then has been a constant struggle.  And this struggle intensifies during the holidays when happy memories haunt my days.  Davey is 7 in this picture and our daughter, Katie, is 3.  They were both so excited about Christmas!

Sometimes I find myself wishing that the holidays were over.

I know many of you share my feelings.  Since I’ve had this very public and tragic loss in my life, more people have been telling me about their own heartbreaks and the losses they have experienced.  And others haven’t talked about it but I can see the private pain in your eyes when we talk about the tragedy that happened to me.

We both know the struggle, we share the struggle – especially at Christmas.

So I force my attention away from my grief and focus on all the blessings God is giving me right now –  my four grand darlings are at the top of that list.  They are so precious and they easily distract me from thinking about all I have lost.

One of the several life-changing lessons I have learned from this tragedy is just how short our lives can be and how quickly someone can be gone.  So the hole in my life reminds me that I need to make the most of the opportunities I have now with the people that are still here.  This is not the time to get stuck in yesterday.  I have new memories to make because there is no guarantee that we’ll have tomorrow together here on earth.

You and I also shouldn’t ignore the difficult days that so many people around us are experiencing this time of year.  I read that these weeks leading up to Christmas have the highest rate of suicide across our nation.

That is so wrong.

So I pray for those of us who are feeling additional pain and loss during this tough season.  And I am trying to be extra patient and kind to people in my world these next couple of weeks – on the freeway, at the store, in the parking lots.  Many of them are struggling and I don’t want to add to the difficulties they have in their lives.  Some of them aren’t even being very nice because of the stress the holidays are causing in their lives.

Can each of us think of a way we can reach out helping hands to others who are not enjoying ‘the most wonderful time of the year’?

And please join me in praying for a little more peace on earth during this holiday season.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

The Pain of Permanence

May 18, 2016 my world blew up – thrusting me into a dark, confusing, very sad place.  A place of grief.  A place I never wanted to go.  My son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.

I have had other people very close to me die – my mother, father and older brother.

But this was not the same.  Not even close.  And I can’t even explain how much worse it has been compared to other deaths in my family.

My first year after Davey was killed was filled with a swirl of emotions.  My heart was smashed as the light Davey brought into my life disappeared.  My plans and dreams for him were ripped away.  I was smacked in the face with situations that were extremely tough.  It all hurt.  That first year was unbelievably difficult.

I was hoping the second year would be better.  People always say that the first year is the worst, don’t they?

But it wasn’t.  In the second year, I began to feel the pain of permanence.  The reality of life long-term without Davey didn’t seem possible.  But it was happening.

And it keeps happening.  I have experienced how empty his birthday feels without him 5 times. I know what Christmas and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are like without Davey.

I know the heartbreak behind the smiles when we celebrate the birthdays of his children when a very happy and proud father is missing.

There are no words to describe how awful the permanence of this situation feels.  It’s impossible.  I believe strongly in the goodness of God…..but this doesn’t feel good.

In the months following May 18, 2016, I had no idea how my family and I would find our way back to our normal.  Now, 5 1/2 years later, I understand that we will never go back.

That time, that place is gone.

My life – our life – back there is gone.

So we have to move forward – a new life, a new reality, a new normal.

Sometimes this new place is filled with sadness as the unending reality of the situation painfully etches itself onto my soul.  Most of the time light shines through the darkness and the blessings that fill my life today overcome the sadness.

I don’t use the word ‘healing’ in relationship to grief and loss I’ve experienced from Davey’s death because that sounds like it goes away, becomes a barely visible scar.  I don’t think that’s a good description of this journey of survival.  Often something will happen that touches a piece of my broken heart and the tears that slide down my face are visible evidence of how much I have lost.  I’m gradually getting used to my life without Davey but this broken heart is not going away and it’s not invisible.

In some ways, each new year gets more difficult –

because this is feeling more and more permanent.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

It’s a Quadruple Whammy

This will be my 6th Christmas without my son, David Glasser.  He was a Phoenix Police Officer killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.

If you have experienced loss, you have probably heard this many times – “the first year without them is the worst”. Crowds of people told me this during that first Christmas season after Davey’s death.  And, yes, it was very tough.   The Christmas season lasted forever.  It was hard to be around so many smiling people who were celebrating and having a fun time.  I was not having a fun time.  My smiles were few and far between.  I felt a huge amount of relief when that first holiday season was finally over.

So I was hoping that what people told me was true and the coming years would be better.  It surprised me when the second Christmas was even more painful than the first as the permanence of the situation started to become a reality.  The permanence of the pain has become increasingly real during the 3rd,  4th and 5th years of living with the growing hole where Davey should be.

This will my 6th Christmas without Davey – and it’s happening again.  It’s my Quadruple Whammy.

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

The first punch is 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 own grandchildren.  We have lost so much.

Next comes Davey’s birthday in November – a couple of weeks after Micah’s.  It was his 40th birthday this year – full of great memories laced with the pain.  He should have had 60 more birthdays.  We have all been robbed.

The third punch is 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 43 years ago.  I ride an emotional roller coaster up and down during November.

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.  I feel pretty beat up by the time January rolls around.

People like me are called Survivors.  I’ve spent almost 6 years so far 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 grief 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 and he comforts me each time my heart breaks a little more.

Because my quadruple whammy is not going away.  It’s happening again this year.

Miss you, Davey. 

Love you.

It’s a Roller Coaster Ride

It has been hard to be thankful these last 5 1/2 years.  My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  This has been the most difficult time of my life.  There has been so much pain and sorrow.

So many tears.

Did you catch it?  Last week I blogged that I was thankful and this week I’m saying it’s hard to be thankful.  Am I confused?  No.  Many of us who have survived a tragedy live on this roller coaster of grief.  Good days, bad days.  Good old memories, recent memories where somebody very important to me is missing.  Smiling one minute, tears running down my face the next. Thankful, then not feeling so thankful.

It’s hard to be thankful when there is this huge hole in my life where my son, Davey, used to be.

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

It’s 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.

And then it becomes even harder to be thankful when I think of the families, friends and co-workers of all 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.  The dark cloud of sadness is moving over more and more of our Blue Family.

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

That night.

The shock.

The grief.

The nightmare.

The horrible reality.

But….

then…… here comes the roller coaster ride….

when I think about the very special gift I was given 40 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, its hard not to smile.

And I’m thankful for every minute.  

I’m thankful to my 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 members and friends who have loved us and cared for us and are still praying for us today.  We share awesome memories of Davey.

daves-squad

I’m very thankful for our Family in Blue who continues to show up and care for us and pray for us.   We share awesome memories of Davey 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…..

on this weekend of Thanksgiving.

Love you!

Miss you , Davey.

Forever 34

It’s been it’s a struggle to move forward from May 18, 2016.  That’s the day my world blew up.  That’s the day my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.

I am blessed with a great group of family, friends and my Blue Family.  I’m learning how to live with only memories of Davey.

It’s not easy to do.

It doesn’t feel right.

The empty hole in my life is very evident.

But I have no other choice.

I thank God for no regrets and a ton of great memories.

Davey’s birthday was last Friday, November 19th.  He would have been 40 years-old this year.  We had so much fun on his birthday every year!  His 20th birthday landed on a home Cardinals game – the early years of the Cardinals.  We all had a blast tailgating.  Beer pong was still an approved activity then so there were lots of ping pong balls flying everywhere.  Good times!

asu

November 19th is right before Thanksgiving so it always felt like Davey’s birthday extended into the holiday. He often had an ASU vs UofA  Football Watch party the day after Thanksgiving if the big rivalry game was being not being played in town. If the game was in town he was usually tailgating somewhere close to the stadium.  Davey loved ASU and he loved the rivalry.  He graduated from ASU along with most of our family except we have one Wildcat…..and he loved to razz her about it …constantly 🙂

Everybody would come to Davey’s football parties and we would have a great time laughing and playing all day.  Cornhole.  Washers.  Watching the game.  Drinking some Coors Light. (Davey’s favorite).   It’s hard now.  We miss him.  We miss his laugh and his joking and his big smile of delight when he was surrounded by his friends and family.

It’s been over 5 years since I’ve seen his smile in person. The other night I had a dream where I saw Davey at a distance and I kept following him around trying to talk to him and see his smile. But I could never get close enough.

In my dream Davey looked just like he did in 2016.

My four special grand darlings are all growing taller and more grown up. The rest of us are growing older with more gray hair and wrinkles and age spots.

davey-square

But Davey will stay forever 34…..

Fallen, but never forgotten.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.