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

I Hate Sirens……..Because I Know

The sound of sirens makes my stomach churn.

It means members of my Blue Family are rushing to take care of business.  They are putting themselves at risk – not knowing what they are walking into.  Just like my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, didn’t know it would be his last call when he stepped out of his police car on May 18, 2016.

Sirens are a signal that all is not well in my world.

Sirens in the middle of the night are the worst.  When its pitch black and good people are asleep, those with darkness in their souls like to crawl out to do their evil deeds.

And so I pray.

I pray for my brothers and sisters in Blue.  I ask my Father God for wisdom for them.  I ask for courage.  I ask for protection.  And I ask that justice will be served as my Blue Family  works to push back some of the evil in my community.

Sometimes these sirens are firefighters speeding through the streets with their sirens and lights.  These first responders are partnering with our Blue family in order to bring order to chaos and help people who are hurt.  I pray for them as the sirens wail through the dark night.

All the while, my stomach churns.  And I pray.

You, my dear brothers and sisters in Blue, are a very unusual breed of people.   You race through the night, in a hurry to take care of the crimes being committed by hateful people.

You run toward the gunfire.

You step into the middle of messes.  You move forward into the danger and are a human shield for others – even when they don’t like you or respect you.  You deal with the drugged liars and cheaters of our world every day, all day.

Meanwhile, the sirens scream through the night and my stomach churns.  And I pray for my Blue Family in uniform, trying to push away the fear.

The fear of what could be happening.

Fear for your wives and husbands.

Fear for your children and your babies.

Fear for your fathers and your mothers.

Fear for your families and friends.

Because I know the danger that accompanies those sirens.

I know what can happen.

The phone call.

The trip to the hospital.

The doctor’s unbelievable words.

And the nightmare.

So I pray.

 

 

I’m Not a Screamer

Normally I am not a screamer.

But on this day, I screamed.  And I didn’t stop for a long time.

It was several months after my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.  I remember sitting, staring off into the distance with my mind swirling with pain and grief and anger and confusion.  I don’t know how long I sat there but I know I gradually realized that I had been sitting there a significant amount of time.  And I didn’t feel like what I was doing was helping me deal with my shattered life and my broken heart.

So I thought about an article on grief that I had wanted to read and I eventually found it in a pile.  I am usually an organized person but those few several months after Davey died were the most unorganized months of my life.  Nothing seemed to fit anywhere anymore so everything went into a pile.

I’m sorry I can’t tell you the title of this article or the author or where I found it.  This just shows you how well my brain was functioning back then.

One of the suggestions in the article for dealing with extreme grief was to try screaming.  After surviving a tragedy, we often have a lot of emotions that we keep all bottled up inside of us because everyone around us is also hurting and we don’t want to add to their struggle.

So we keep it inside where it tears us apart, roars in our ears and keeps us awake at night.

The article suggested that screaming might help me get out my emotions and feel better.  I was ready to try just about anything.

They mentioned finding a time when I was alone – for obvious reasons.  I also needed to find a place where I could scream and not end up with the neighbors calling the cops.

Wow- I definitely needed to avoid that scenario.

I went in my closet but it was too small.  Don’t ask my why but I wanted to lay face down somewhere and scream into the floor.

So I laid down on the living room rug, closed my eyes and started screaming.  And I kept screaming.  I had the biggest pity party of my life – screaming my head of as I went through every negative and painful thought and feeling that was rolling around in my head.

I screamed a long time.  When I finally stopped I was exhausted and I had a sore throat.

And I felt lighter.  It felt good.

I got up on the couch and decided that this needed to be a turning point for me.  From then on, I was going to focus on life, not death.  From then on, I was going to be grateful for all I had while Davey was alive and all I still had.  My life was not going to be about what I had lost.

Davey was gone but, for some reason, I was still here.  So I needed to figure out what purpose God still had for me here and do it.

I have cried a million tears between then and now but no more screaming.  The swirling in my head gradually stopped, the piles in my house found their place and I am slowly getting used to the hole – some days are harder than others.

I am so extremely grateful for the 34 years we had Davey.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

Happy Man Christmas!

Today is the day!

Man Christmas is traditionally the first day of professional football.  I know football officially started earlier this week but David Glasser, my son who was a Phoenix Police officer who was killed in the line of duty in 2016, would be celebrating today.

He considered this to be the best day of the year for men who like football.  From their perspective, Christmas is good, football is better.  Of course, a lot of women like football, too, but I’m thinking that not very many of women would put football before Christmas.

Davey loved the Arizona Cardinals.   He was definitely not a fair weather fan – he was there, cheering them on year after year whether they were having a good year or not.  He had season tickets every year.  He knew all the stats and kept up with all the tweets.

Davey loved to tailgate before the games with all of his buddies.  There were lots of games of washers and corn hole.  Lots of food.  Lots of shots and beers.  It was a good time to blow off some steam with his friends since he was going into the 3-hour game where he didn’t drink any beer because the prices were too high.  Davey was always looking for the best deal.

If you sat next to Davey in a game, you were in for some extra entertainment.  He kept track of anybody sitting around him with the opposing team’s hat or shirt on.  He would regularly yell comments out to these fans of the other team as the game progressed – especially when the Cardinals were ahead.  They would also hear from him when they went out to get some food and when they got back with their food.  He and his buddies often had an extra ticket or two because someone from their pack couldn’t go.  They were very diligent in making sure that the people who were given those tickets would not be cheering for the opposing team.

It just wasn’t done.

I love this picture because it shows Davey’s pure delight in being at a game surrounded by Kristen and his friends.  It truly was one of his happy places.

So we gather to watch the Cardinals game today – some of us in the stadium and some of us at home.

And we remember……..

We remember our favorite Cardinals fan and celebrate his love for football.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou.