His Voice

I would recognize it anywhere.

Last week a memory came up on my Facebook page from 5 years ago.  Davey had made a video of his son sharing what he learned in Children’s Church that Sunday.  Adding arm gestures, 4 year-old Micah said, “God loves me.”  Watching the video, I was just starting to smile when I heard Davey’s voice come onto the video, encouraging Micah.

I wasn’t prepared.

The tears started instantly.

I would recognize that voice anywhere.

David Glasser was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  Almost 4 years ago.  At times like these, it feels like yesterday.  If you knew Davey or were at his funeral, you know he is in heaven today.  He put his faith in Jesus and he wasn’t shy about sharing that with other people.

God leaves out a lot of details in the Bible about how heaven works.  He mentions streets of gold, mansions and crowns but I think he used those descriptions because those are things we can relate to and understand.  I think heaven is going to be indescribably better than that.

God gives us a glimpse of what our bodies might be like in heaven when we read about Jesus after his resurrection.  Jesus ate, he walked through walls, and he just ‘appeared’ places.  People didn’t recognize him right away….. but then they did a double-take and knew who he was.

I know that we have each been uniquely designed by our Father God and we reflect different aspects of who he is.  I believe we will take the good parts of that ‘personality’ into heaven with us.

I believe that – someday when I get to my ‘forever home’ in heaven – I will hear his voice again.  Davey’s voice.  I might not recognize him right away but I will instantly know who he is because of that voice.

Davey is there already.

Someday I’ll join him.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

His Final Words

I am painfully reminded almost every day how short life can be.  How quickly things change – permanently.

My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police officer who was killed almost 3 1/2 years ago.  He was doing his job just like he had done every day for 12 years.  But on May 18, 2016, his life ended.

The worst happened.

Those of us who were left behind will never be the same.  Our worlds blew up and the emotional fall-out continues.  Every time I visit Davey’s spot in the cemetery, I am reminded of  all the families whose heroes are buried in the same area and are on this painful journey with us.  We’re drowning in a ocean of tears waking up each day to an unforgettable hole.

It’s a struggle.  Some of my steps moving forward really hurt.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that the last thing Davey said to everyone that he cared about was “love you”.  He even said it to his squad members and waited until they said it back.  It has been such a blessing for us to have that last ‘love you’ echoing through our heads as we deal with the grief and loss of Davey’s death.

If you have been reading this blog, you also know that one of the things I wish Davey had done was write me a letter.  It would be something I could get out to read over and over again on the dark days when I need some encouragement.  Because of this, I have now written letters to everyone who is dear to me in my life and I plan to update them every ten years or so if I stay on this planet for a while longer.

I know Davey loved me.  He and I thought alike so we didn’t have to say a lot to communicate how we felt about each other.  Now, I would really love to have some of that written down in a letter.

So imagine my amazement when I was recently searching through our small document safe that holds our important ‘stuff’ and I found an envelope with Davey’s handwriting on the outside.  In the envelope is a list written in Davey’s handwriting.  The bottom of the page says, “Sunday School 1999.”

He was 18 years-old.

He had written what he thought his life would be like “40 years from now”.  He gave a couple of options of what he wanted as a career and one of them was ‘police officer’.  He described the woman he would marry, how many kids he wanted, and his desire to continue to grow his relationship with God and be active in a church family.

It’s amazing to me that I kept this.  It’s definitely a God-thing. I’m an anti-hoarder so I’m very selective of the things I choose to keep. The number of old things I’m willing to move and store goes down as the years progress.

I shared the list Davey had written with my husband and Kristen because this is as close to a letter as we’re going to get.

I have discovered that this list encourages me.  It reminds me of Davey and sparks great memories of how his eyes would light up when he talked about his plans and dreams.

He didn’t have 40 more years.  But reading this list makes me so grateful that we took full advantage of the 16 more years he had at the point when he wrote this.  No regrets.  We had 34 awesome years with him here on earth and that’s going to have to be enough until we see him again in heaven.

Thank you for the letter, Davey.

Miss you.

#8144loveyou

Look Up!!

What am I thinking about?

What am I focused on?

I ask these questions when I find myself in a dark place.

When I’m sad.

When I’m stuck in yesterday.

When the list of what I have lost seems way too long.

When my shattered dreams fill my head as the tears drip down my face.

David Glasser, my son, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  Those of you who knew him realized that he was unique – he had a high level of integrity and knowledge of what was right and wrong and he also loved people and loved to have fun.  My husband and I lived 1 1/2 miles away from Davey so we got to spend a lot of time with him and his family.

And suddenly – without warning – Davey was gone.

Every day, I am reminded of just how much of the light and joy in my life went with him.

On Davey’s birthday, a group of his family and friends visited his spot in the cemetery and released balloons into the sky.  This is a very old tradition reaching back to biblical times when incense was burned so it could combine with the prayers of God’s people as they floated up to heaven.

As I remember watching our balloons covered with messages of love rise high into the sky and finally disappear, I realize that this is what I need to do.  Look up.  And I invite those of who have experienced a huge loss in your life to join me.

I’m going to Look Up –

Look up to see the sun shining on all of my blessings that are still here.

Look up to remember how important messages of love and encouragement are to those of us left behind.

Look up to remember that my prayers – our prayers – go to a God who loves us and who wants the best for us and who can do the impossible.

As 2020 begins, let’s Look Up together to see all the possibilities a brand new year can bring.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

 

You Need to Write a Letter

In fact, you probably need to write several letters.   This is a perfect time to do it as we begin a new year.

These letters are for the people you love most so they can have something tangible to hold and read and read again after you aren’t here anymore.

The letters might be full of things you have already told them.  Or you may be able to write some things that you’ve never been able to say or haven’t said in a long time.  There might be some specific encouragements that you want to share with them knowing that they are grieving your loss as they read this letter.

Our soldiers who are going off to war or being deployed to dangerous foreign countries have always been pretty good at doing this.  It’s a normal thing that they are encouraged and reminded to write letters before they leave.

It’s not so true for our brothers and sisters in Blue.  I guess it’s just a more obvious thing to do when you’re getting on a plane to Iraq than it is when you’re getting into your car to go to the precinct.

And it’s definitely not as obvious for the rest of us who are not putting on uniforms and bullet-proof vests and guns.

But the danger is just as real.  Today could be the day that you and I don’t come back home.

My son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Policeman who was killed in the line of duty in 2016,  didn’t leave any letters.  I wish he had.   I would have loved to have a final letter from him to hold…and read….and hold.  I have his last Mother’s Day card to me framed on my dresser.  It’s an awesome last message and I will treasure it for the rest of my life.

We know he loved us.  We know what he would say about a lot of things that have happened since his death.  But to have something tangible……knowing he knew we would be reading it if he didn’t come back one day.  That would have been very special.

So – you and I need to write some letters.  All of us.  Because none of us are promised tomorrow.

I wrote my letters about two years ago when I realized that I really wished I had one from Davey.  They aren’t easy to write – I used a lot of tissues.  They are all safely tucked away in our personal safe at home.  So they’re ready for that time.  Whenever it comes.

If I stay on this earth another 15 – 20 years I will probably write some more and add them to the pile.  I want those I love to have this last gift from me…

to read…

and hold…

and read again.

How about you?  Have you written your letters yet?

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

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.

What 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 is 3.  They were both so excited about Christmas!

Sometimes I just wish 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 my heartbreak.

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

So I force my attention away from my loss and focus on all the blessings God is giving me right now –  my three granddarlings 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 time 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 this week of Christmas has 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 this week – 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.

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.

#8144loveyou

It’s a Crash Course

I’ve been taking a crash course on grief since May 18, 2016 when my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.

I thought I had quite a bit of experience with grief since my father, mother and brother have all passed away along with my aunts and uncles – all 16 of them.

None of that compares with Davey’s death.

Personally, my life blew up.  I totally understand why marriages fall apart when children die because each person in the marriage is affected differently and monumentally by the tragedy.  We can’t ‘be there’ for each other as much as we need because we’re each going through our own personal nightmare.  I give God all the credit for keeping my marriage safe as we worked our way through the first tough years after Davey’s death.  Yes, years.  Not weeks, not months… years.

After Davey was killed, of course our family, framily, friends and Davey’s friends and squad members were grieving with us.  But it took me awhile to realize that the whole city of Phoenix as well as our big Blue Family all across the country were also grieving with us.  This was much bigger than just us. 

When a young person dies, we lose their whole future.  Everything they were going to do and be is ripped away.  All of the hopes and dreams for them are gone…..in a moment.  We all lost Davey – every smile, every joke, every good time.   All gone.  We each felt it and I gradually started seeing the widespread fall-out from the bomb that had hit all of us – job changes, divorces and counselling sessions.

When a police officer is murdered, our whole city loses because this was one of the ‘good guys’ who are working hard to push back the crime and danger on our streets.  This was a person who was already sacrificing their time with their family and their safety to be a part of what’s right in our world.  And now their life has been permanently snatched away by evil.

And we each react differently to the loss.

I’ve learned to give people a lot of grace when they are grieving.  People say weird things and they can do very hurtful things when they are in a cloud of loss.  I had to give people a lot of grace when I was lost in the initial fog of Davey’s death because people around me would say unhelpful things and exhibit strange behaviors as they struggled to try to deal with their own grief while trying to support me in mine.  They were trying – they just weren’t always good at it.

I also learned that there are a lot of ways to effectively grieve.  Each of us has our own personality so we experience loss in our own way.  I can’t tell you how you should grieve or how long you should feel this way.  I can’t tell you that counselling is the answer for you – it’s not the answer for all of us.  There is no one-size-fits-all magic answer.  There are various ways of getting help that are good to try if you feel like you’re getting stuck in the pain.  Somehow, we all need to figure out how to move forward – because we are still here and have a purpose.

For me, the answer has been to stay as close to God as I possibly can.  He has been my Rock as the storm rages around me.  He has been my constant counsellor, comforter and guide down this difficult road.  This is a tough journey that will not end this side of heaven because Davey is gone,

and he’s not coming back.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

He Was There

He was there when my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, went to work on May 18, 2016.

It felt like just another day.

He was there when Davey took his last call.

It seemed like just another call.

God was there when Davey stepped out of the police car and a bullet ripped off the back of his head.

This can’t possibly be happening.

He was there when responding bullets eliminated the evil that was standing in the driveway shooting the gun.

So no one else was hurt.

He was there while Davey’s squad members protected and cared for Davey as his blood spilled out onto the pavement.

The well-trained officers responded quickly even as their hearts were breaking.

God was there when the police and firemen revived Davey’s body and took him to the hospital.

They did everything they could…. and more.

He was there, right beside me, when I received that call telling me Davey had been shot.  He was beside each of us as we received that call. It’s a call we’ll never forget.

It haunts my dreams.

He was there beside each of us as we each made our way to the hospital through a sudden, dark fog.

 It can’t be true.

God heard my terrified cries followed by urgent prayers for a miracle as the news and the night unfolded.

He heard and he cared.

He provided family, friends, our Blue family, doctors, nurses, and a chaplain to help all of us hold together as we entered hell.

It felt like a journey into hell but I know hell is worse because God is not there.

God walked the corridors with us as we cried and prayed.  The halls of the hospital were lined with people crying and praying.  Several waiting rooms were packed full of people crying and praying.

He heard and he cared.

He wrapped his arms around us as the long night dragged on and Davey’s brainwaves gradually………disappeared.

This can’t be true.

The night finally ended and the sun rose once again.

I was still alive.

The rest of us were still alive.

Together, we were going to have to figure out how to go on without Davey.

Impossible.

It’s impossible to go on without Davey.

But what felt impossible on that day, God has made possible.  He has been there through everything, loving us and giving us strength.  He has heard every prayer and He has held us each time we have cried.

And He has given us a purpose for going on.

He was there.

And He is here – making the impossible possible.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

 

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