Bittersweet

I would like to write a nice, ‘feel good’ blog for Mother’s Day.  But it isn’t happening.

What’s happening is a rollercoaster of bittersweet emotions on this Mother’s Day.  Some of the issue for me is the fact that my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed on May 18, 2016 – right after Mother’s Day.   So the horror of that day has overshadowed my Mother’s Day ever since.  The permanent, painful changes in my life emphasize the hole in my heart – especially on this day.

The last Mother’s Day I had with Davey was just 10 days before he was shot and killed.  I was told later that he had the opportunity for some off-duty work that day but he turned it down, saying he wanted to spend the day with the ‘mothers’ in his life.  That doesn’t surprise me – that’s who he was.  He had his priorities straight.

Davey also knew I was alone that day because my husband had taken an emergency flight to Pennsylvania.  My husband’s father had just died.  Yes, my father-in-law passed away two weeks before our son was killed.  Have you ever felt the crushing impact of multiple bombs going off in your life?

When I remember that Mother’s Day, all I can think about is sitting outside at lunch with Davey.  I remember what it felt like to hang out with him – to laugh and have fun.  I remember how different my world felt with him in it.

My Mother’s Day will never be the same.  There is an important person missing.

But then I remember how thankful I am to have my daughter and four gorgeous grand darlings –  each one of them is such a blessing in my life!  When I focus on them, Mother’s Day starts to sparkle again.  All the possibilities!  All the new memories to make!  Watching my grand darlings grow into their own personalities and strengths is awesome.  Watching Davey’s children mature has the added joy of seeing glimpses of him as they exhibit traits they inherited from their dad.

If you have experienced the loss of a child, you know the rollercoaster that I’m describing.  Dark days and then the light shines through.  Things going smooth….until they don’t.  Several days without tears and then a day when it’s hard to stop the waterfall.

Mother’s day – it’s bitter sweet when you have lost a child.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

Love You

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. I am very happy he did.

‘Love you’ has lifted me up out of a place of deep, dark grief many times these last almost 5 years.

‘Love you’ has challenged me to grow even more genuine in my relationships.  I care more deeply and understand to a deep level in my soul how short my time is here on earth.

‘Love you’ reminds me that I’m still here for a purpose – my watch hasn’t ended yet.  There is work to be done.  Relationships to be built.  People to love.

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

And now I 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.

Love you.

It’s Coming

May is coming quickly and it’s a tough month for me. My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty in May 2016. His official End of Watch is May 19 but, if you’ve read my blogs you know I often use May 18th because he was gone by the time I saw him in the hospital. Machines kept his body functioning until the next day so we could say goodbye and he could fulfill his wish of being an organ donor. But the awesome son, husband, father, brother and friend that we all knew was not in that hospital bed.

May 18th will forever be the worst day of my life. We always do something to commemorate May 19th which works for me because the worst day – May 18th – is behind me by then.

And, of course, my Blue Family knows that May 15th is Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Day. So 4 days before Davey’s official E.O.W we are remembering and honoring all of our fallen heroes. So many men and women have died serving their communities. Too many families are going through the nightmare we are going through. So many lives blown apart.

I’m sure you can start to understand why May is a specially hard month for me.

The good news is that this is all followed by my wedding anniversary with Dave, my husband, on May 23. Forty years. We were supposed to be celebrating this year on a cruise through the Greek Isles but you know what happened to that plan. I’m grateful that our anniversary is at the end of May. It is a light at the end of the tunnel by giving us something positive to celebrate. It is an accomplishment to be proud of, especially because together we have survived the worst thing that can happen to a parent. It reminds us that our marriage has been one of our anchors in the continuing storm of missing Davey.

This year my husband and I are going to Washington, DC and plan to spend several hours at the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on May 15. I know Police Week has moved to October this year and I’m happy about that for the first year survivors from last year and this year. They need Police Week.

I just need to spend a couple of hours on the 15th in the afternoon by my son’s name at the memorial. 38 – W:30. That’s where I’ll be. If you are in town, please stop in, I would love to meet you. Thomas Yoxall – I’ll be looking for you.

One of the main things that has helped me keep moving forward through the roller coaster of pain and grief that has defined my life these last almost 5 years is getting as close to God as I possibly can. God remains my Rock as he shows me how to survive with a heart that was smashed on May 18, 2016. I spend many hours each week with my Bible open on my lap, listening and talking to God.

The number of those hours with my Father will be going way up in May.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

A Hero’s Heartbeat

Heroes recognize each other.

They sense it when they have read about or met another person who has the same level of commitment to the greater good as they do.  These heroes are willing to put themselves at risk in order to help or protect others.

Of course, none of them would call themselves heroes.  But we do.  Because looking at their lives, we see something special.  We see a level of love and courage and sacrifice in their lives that we just don’t see in our own lives.

My son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016, loved Pat’s Run. He signed up for next year’s run as soon as this year’s run was over.  He recruited groups of friends and family every year to run beside him.  And as soon as Micah, his son, was old enough Micah was running in the kid’s run – with Davey right beside him.

Now I realize Davey loved to honor the memory of Pat Tillman because Davey had the heart of hero beating inside of him.

He shared Pat’s burning need to be more,

and give more

and protect more. 

Davey recognized these things in Pat’s life because he had the same passions inside of him.

To us, Pat’s run has now become a remembrance of all those who served others selflessly and lost their lives.  Davey’s squad members proudly carry the Blue Line Flag as a way to dedicate their run to their brothers and sisters in the Thin Blue Line who gave their lives protecting their communities.  It’s a virtual run again this year but hopefully next year crowds of people with #42 on their shirts will be back running on the streets of our cities, remembering and honoring a hero.  Our team will be running to remember and honor all heroes.

As a soldier, Pat Tillman put himself at risk to serve his country.  As a Police Officer, Davey put himself at risk every day to serve the people in his city.

And they both lost their lives because of the heart of a hero that beat inside of them.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

It’s Invisible…

but it’s there.

It’s a cloud of grief with my son, David Glasser’s name on it.  He was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.   This cloud has hung over my life since that day.  You don’t see it or feel it.

But I do.

I have moments of silent grief when anyone I know shares that they talked to their son or went somewhere with their son.   That used to be my husband and I.  We lived 1 1/2 miles away from Davey and his family the last 5 years of his life.  We talked to him almost every day and saw him almost as much.  We were included in all of his plans for fun which were many and often.

Oh, how we miss those fun times with Davey!

I have moments of silent grief when anything about Police Officers comes onto the television.  Another officer being killed in the line of duty brings back the memories of the shock and disbelief of those first few weeks….and months. Any disrespect or dishonor exhibited for Police Officers is very personal to me.  It feels like disrespect and dishonor for Davey’s bravery and commitment in serving and protecting his community.

Davey gave his life for the people in his city.

I have moments of silent grief whenever I do something Davey used to do.  Even something as simple as cooking beer brats takes me back to Davey’s kitchen as I watched him make a big pot of brats for all of the friends and family that he was inviting over that day. 

Davey loved people so he found lots of reasons to invite people to his house to have a good time.

There are many moments of silent grief when I watch Davey’s son and daughter playing sports.  Davey would have been right in the middle of it all, coaching them and showing them how proud he was of them.

He was such a great dad!

I have moments of silent grief whenever I see someone receiving a folded flag.  We have a folded flag in our house and we know all about the pain and loss that comes with it.

I have moments silent grief whenever I’m around Davey’s friends and squad members.  All of the awesome memories are great and the love and support we have for one another makes a difference …..but the hole he left in our lives is so big.

If you have experienced a tragedy like mine, you understand.  If you haven’t, I hope you never know what this cloud of grief feels like.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

Because He Lives

Disappointments. Pain. Grief. Loss. Heartbreak.

These words describe many of my days since May 18, 2016 when my son, David Glasser, who was Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.

This doesn’t just describe the first year after Davey was killed, or the second year. It’s been every year. The grief changes but its still there. Some days it feels like it was just yesterday I received the phone call telling me Davey had been shot and I needed to go to the hospital. There are still moments where my brain plays tricks on me and I feel like I’m waiting for him to walk in the door with his huge smile on his face, telling me about his next plan to have some fun.

But Davey’s not going to walk in the door.

I know that.

I also know that God, in his infinite wisdom decided that May 18th, 2016 would be Davey’s last day on earth. God’s Word tells me that each of our final days are decided before we are born and nothing is going to change that. This fact has helped me put aside any ‘what ifs’ about May 18th. It was already decided. Everyone did the best they could do. Now, with our love for Davey secure in our hearts and our minds full of great memories, we move forward.

The reality is that Davey is living his best life right now. God took him out of this world full of disappointments and pain. Davey is where each of us who have put our faith in Jesus desire to be.

You know all about the struggles down here on earth – and they are growing for the Law Enforcement community. The Thin Blue Line is under attack from the people who should be supporting them. I remember how bad I thought it was in 2016 but the attacks and disrespect and disregard have gotten infinitely worse.

There are no more struggles for Davey. He got his reward early. This picture is Davey on a cruise with all of his best buddies from his squad just a couple of months before he was killed. See that smile? He was having a great time and I know he’s smiling like that where he is right now.

Jesus died on the cross for Davey so Davey would not die, but live in his forever home with his Father God. Because Davey put his faith in Christ, he walked hand in hand with Jesus into heaven on May 18, 2016.

Jesus is alive and that means Davey is also alive, waiting for the rest of us who have accepted the free salvation Jesus offers to join him in heaven.

We celebrate today – because he lives.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

Yes

The answer is yes.

When I am asked if other law enforcement officers being killed in the line of duty brings it all back, the answer is always yes.  It brings back the horrible shock and loss of May 18, 2016 when my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed during a burglary attempt.

The recent line of duty death of Officer Eric Talley from the Boulder Colorado Police Department has been such a tragedy.  Brave and fearless, he ran toward the danger just like all Police Officers do.  There were so many lives lost that day, so many other lives devastated.

My husband and I moved from Phoenix to north of Denver last year so Boulder feels very close to us.  I can’t stop thinking and praying for Officer Talley’s family, friends and co-workers.  My broken heart understands the pain they are experiencing and the struggles yet to come.  I know they are waking up each morning hoping it was all just a horrible nightmare…….

and then letting the tears flow as they realize it wasn’t.  Their world has shattered…..

and it will never be the same.

Seven fatherless children left behind.  My own two fatherless grandchildren.  That’s the hardest part for me on this extremely tough journey of being a survivor of a line of duty death.

I relive these feelings every time I hear of another officer being killed.  The invisible cloud of grief in my house with Davey’s name on it becomes more evident whenever we lose another hero.

Too many people don’t understand that each death of a Law Enforcement Officer is a tragedy for all of us.  These are the courageous people who live in a thin blue line between the innocent and evil.  Police Officers stand between you and the people who want to make your neighborhood, your city, a dangerous place to live.  They put themselves in harm’s way each day for us.

When good guys lose, we all lose.

And we have all lost another hero.  Officer Talley was a man dedicated to making a positive difference in our world.  A man willing to stand up against what is wrong and help make it right.

Those of us left behind will remember and honor Officer Talley for his bravery, commitment and sacrifice.  Let’s also figure out things we can do to show appreciation for the men and women who put on their police uniforms everyday and stand in the way of danger for each of us..

The Thin Blue Line just got a little thinner.

Officer Talley – Fallen but never forgotten.

Davey – Miss you more today.

Love you.

A Very Long Season

I am in a very long season.

My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  My world turned upside down and then crumbled before it exploded.  You get the picture.  It caused an earthquake in my life that was 10.0 on the Richter scale and the after shocks just keep coming.  There has been a domino-effect in all areas of my life these last 5 years and the dominos just keep falling.

The fall-out hasn’t stopped.  And now I realize that it never will.  My life here on earth will always be missing Davey.  Every holiday, every person’s birthday in my family along with his own, every family and friend gathering and every anniversary will have a hole – a 6’5″ hole.

Before Davey’s death, I often would write something like “praying that God will give you peace and strength during this season of grief’ on sympathy cards to people who had lost someone they loved.  I don’t write that anymore because grief is not a season for people like me.  Grief is now a permanent part of my life here on earth.  I will be feeling the affects of losing Davey until the day I walk into my forever home in heaven, hand in hand with Jesus.  Only then will my grieving be over.

As I have shared before, I am gradually getting used to the pain and loss of Davey’s death.  I’m growing used to watching my hopes and dreams for my life with Davey continue to be blown away in the cruel wind of reality.

I’m getting used to missing Davey.

But that doesn’t stop the tears as my long season of grief continues.

Love you, Davey.

 

We Stand Apart…

and we stand together.

The Thin Blue Line stands between the innocent and the evil ones.  It stands between peace and violence.  It stands between right and wrong.

The Thin Blue Line stands for honor and respect.  It stands for order and discipline.  It stands for courage and personal sacrifice for the greater good.

There is a vocal group in our country who does not value honor, respect, order, discipline, courage and personal sacrifice.

But we do.

There is a reason why the Police Officer’s badge is in the shape of a shield and is placed over the officer’s heart.   Their responsibilities require a level of commitment and courage that only comes from a huge heart.  A caring heart.  A warrior’s heart.  It’s their most important weapon.

#8144 was the badge of my son, David Glasser.  He was wearing it over his heart when he was shot and killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  He loved being a police officer – it was in his DNA.  He loved the people in his city and he died serving and protecting them. 

Police officers are the truest guardians of freedom in our country.  We have witnessed outstanding examples of this in this last year as police officers protected one group of people’s right to assemble and freedom of speech while also protecting those who are not part of the assembling if violence and mayhem started.

Most people cannot imagine how hard it is to achieve this line in an unknown and super-charged environment.

Our Police Officers live it.

Our Blue Family includes the Thin Blue Line along with all of the rest of us who love and support our officers.

We believe in respect.

We believe in loyalty.

We believe in honor.

We believe in justice.

We believe in enforcing the law of the land, even when it’s not popular in some places.

And we never forget our fallen heroes who stood for justice over personal safety.

Because of our values, we stand apart from those who don’t believe in these things,

and we stand together.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

Survivors

The word “survivors” used to make me think about people who have lived through shipwrecks and plane crashes.  These were people who had experienced the ravages of tragedy first hand and had lived through it.

Right after my son, David Glasser who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016, people started calling my family ‘survivors’.  Lost in shock and pain the first year after Davey died, it didn’t make sense to me.

Now it does –  I definitely feel like a survivor.

Sometimes my life since the day Davey was killed seems like a train wreck that hasn’t stopped yet.  Railroad cars filled with my hopes and dreams of what my life was going to be like with Davey in it keep coming.  But the track broke almost 5 years ago,

and the cars fall off the track –

one by one,

down…

into a deep,

dark

ravine.

There’s a big pile of my broken dreams at the bottom of this ravine.

And the cars keep coming,

they keep falling.

The pile is growing bigger.

Other days, it feels more like we were all on a ship that was hit by an enormous hurricane.  The storm was totally unexpected.  It was huge and ferocious. When our ship crashed into the rocks and the storm lifted a little, we were washed up on an unknown shore – missing one very special person.

We landed in a place we never wanted to be.  But we’re here together. The old ship is gone.  We’re all figuring out how to live in this new place.

I would have never imagined that surviving was this difficult.  With a heart that is smashed into a million pieces and with a huge hole in my life, I’m learning how to not just survive in this new place, but to thrive.  God had a purpose for taking Davey to his forever home and he has a purpose for leaving me here.

The same can be said for you if you’ve been left behind after tragically losing someone.

There’s a reason.

We survive for a purpose.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

#8144loveyou