May 19, 2016

When the worst happened.

Someone I loved deeply and planned to have in my life for a very long time went to work…..

and never returned.  It is my worst nightmare.

My son, Dave Glasser, was a Phoenix Police officer for 12 years.  So I know about the small cloud of anxiety that hangs over Police Officers and their families every day.  Hoping..

and praying..

that today is not the day they don’t come back.

daveys-shield

Because my son didn’t come back.

And my world exploded.

For 4 1/2 years I’ve been picking up the pieces of my life and figuring out how they fit together around this very large hole in my heart.  I know God has a purpose for what happened and one part of that purpose is me sharing some of this journey with you.  It’s a very tough road filled with huge mountains and big potholes and constant blind curves.  It’s paved with grief and pain, flooded with tears.

Unfortunately, there are way too many people on this road with me – you know what’s it’s like when your son, daughter, husband or friend doesn’t come back.

One of the good things about this nightmare has been my Blue Family.  The amount of care and love and encouragement we have received has been phenomenal.  Unbelievable.  And it started immediately.  I remember my first conversation with my boss after Davey was killed and he reminded me of the Employee Assistance Program provided by the company I worked for.  I told him I didn’t need it because the Phoenix Police Department had an Employee Assistance Team ‘on steroids’ led by Dave Osborne.  We were totally taken care of.

Since then, I cannot tell you how many police officers have talked to me personally and said, “Let me know if you ever need anything.  I mean it. Here’s my cell number.”  And they’ve shown up when they are needed or whenever they know they can help.  When we’ve asked for police volunteers for a David Glasser Foundation event, a crowd of officers always steps forward to prove that they aren’t just saying they will be there for us, they mean it.  Davey’s squad has been amazing in their love and support even as they have been working through their pain.  The Phoenix Police Department has been awesome in their support of us and of the foundation – always willing to do whatever they can to help.

My family actually does bleed blue.  The courage and love and honor that embodies a great Police Officer runs through of the veins of many of my Blue Family members.  Others of us in the ‘family’ have hearts of blue because we love and encourage and pray for our members who wear the uniform.

If either of these describe you, thanks for being a part of my Blue Family.

It’s not an easy family to be a part of.

The worst can happen.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

It’s Still Beating

He had the Heart of a Warrior and –

somewhere –

his heart is still beating.

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

Davey was only 34 years-old and in excellent physical condition when he was killed by a shot to his head.  The actual process of him donating wasn’t easy for me emotionally.  It was hard to say goodbye and walk out of the hospital when drugs were still making his heart beat and machines were making his lungs breath.  But he wanted it, so it happened.

As a result, a whole crowd of people are still walking on this earth because they received Davey’s life-giving organs.

And someone got the Heart of a Warrior.

It’s still beating.

This heart beats for justice.

It beats for integrity and honor.

It beats for courage and personal sacrifice.

And it beats strongly for loving God and loving each other.

I believe that each of us has our own Warrior’s Heart.  God gave us things we are passionate about – things that make our hearts beat faster.  We’re all different so these passions are different as well.

The issues that we really care about are the areas where we are supposed to stand up and do something helpful, something positive.

How do I make a difference in this world?

How do you make a difference?

One very easy way we can make a difference is sign up to be an organ donor like Davey.  I’ve done that.  Have you?  Members of my family have received organs from other donors so we know what a huge blessing it is to people and their families.

Other ways to make a difference aren’t as easy but we need to figure out how to use our passions and our energy to have a positive effect on our world.  Don’t just talk about it – do it.  What do you get riled up about?  What angers you?  What frustrates you?  That is where your passion lies.  But we can’t let the anger and frustration take over – we have to use this energy for good.  To help.

One of the failures in our current culture is too many people are spending their precious time and resources standing against and protesting against things.

But what are they standing for?  Their time and resources could be used to help people – used to make something good and positive happen.

It’s a choice.

I choose to help others look to God, especially in the darkness.  I choose to stand for justice and freedom in our country by standing for the Thin Blue Line between the evil and innocent.

My Warrior’s Heart beats for loving God and loving others.

What does your Warrior’s Heart beat for?

What are you doing about it?

MIss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

I Know

When you walk up to me…..

I see it in your eyes.

I know what you’re going to say before you say it – you have lost a child.  And you know enough of my story to know that I have lost a child.

I see your grief.  I see the emptiness.  I see the confusion and ‘swirling’ going on in your mind.

You have never felt this kind of pain before.  You have experienced the deaths of other people in your life but it was never as devastating as this.

You look at me and you wonder how I can walk around and smile like a normal person.   Your world has exploded and you don’t feel like you will ever have a reason to smile again.

You wonder if maybe I know a secret…….

Until we started talking – and then you see how quickly my eyes fill with tears.  My broken heart lies right under the surface of my smile.  I feel your pain because it is my pain.  I feel your sadness because I live each day with that sadness.

My mind is getting used to the huge hole in my life but my heart is shattered.  I have no secret remedy to this nightmare but I have learned some things through this loss that have helped me move forward these last 4 1/2  years –

*Let the tears flow.  Cry when you want, don’t try to hide it.  I would have said I was not an emotional person before Davey was killed.  Now tears fill my eyes almost daily – sometimes several times a day –  when something pricks the pieces of my broken heart.

*Don’t stuff the grief and pain down – feel it, deal with it.  Journalling is great because it forces us to slowly work through our thoughts and feelings.  Writing this blog has made me think through a variety of difficult issues and come to terms with them in my mind.  The fog in my brain gradually lifted as I wrote about my pain and grief.  I gained clarity.

*Talk about it.  Find people in your life that have experienced huge loss and who don’t mind talking about it over and over and over.  Just keep talking about it even if you’re repeating the same things.  I had people in my life that I did this with and helped me organize my thoughts and get issues out on the table.

*If you have been reading this blog, you know that my relationship with God has been the rock I have been clinging to through this storm.  I don’t know how people get through tragedies like this when they don’t have God.  When a child dies, the life of everyone close to them explodes –  no one is strong.  God was strong for me.  He has given me strength and peace and purpose on this journey.  If you don’t know God, he is the secret you’re searching for.

*Working with the David Glasser Foundation has helped me moved forward.  One of the devastating factors of Davey’s death and the death of any child is losing all of their future.  Davey had so much to give and do yet – things he will now never get a chance to do.  So helping kids and families in his name gives us a chance to do some of those things – it’s not all lost.  I have talked with other families who have started scholarships in the name of the child they lost which is the same concept.  It’s a way to redeem some of what should have been.

* Focusing on being grateful for 34 years with Davey helps me.  Focusing on all the blessings I have today helps me.  I don’t let myself focus on all I have lost because that doesn’t help me stay positive and move forward.

I hope sharing this helps you.

This is a very tough road we are on.  Knowing we’re not alone on this road makes it a little easier.

Miss you, Davey.

 

 

Before

My life has a ‘before’.

Before my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016, my world was a different place.

It was a place where my family was whole.  When I think back to ‘before’, there is a special glow that shines on my memories and that light has now disappeared.

My husband and I lived 1 1/2 miles from Davey and his family the last 6 years of his life so I could expect to see him or at least talk with him almost every day.  He would regularly drop by unannounced for something – anything.  He loved people so he was always in search of people to talk to, people to hang out with.  Most of the time Davey had his son, Micah, with him when he dropped by and he wanted his dad to come along wherever they were going – Home Depot, Best Buy, where ever.  His then five year-old son, Micah, called Best Buy ‘daddy’s store’ so that gives you an idea of how often they went there.

Davey was a planner – always thinking about the next good time, the next tailgate, the next trip, the next get together.  There was a feeling of excitement and anticipation when he was around because there were good times coming.  Guess whose idea it was to have some fun with the leaning tower of Pisa when we toured Italy?

He was open and friendly, gathering friends wherever he went.

I miss Davey’s light in my life.

My struggle with the darkness, grief and pain this last 4 1/2 years has been tough.  I have often felt the gloom hanging over me, my longing for ‘before’ crowding out any joy of today.

It’s been a battle.  God has given me strength and has increased my faith through these awful days.  He has given me a lot of family and framily (friends who are family) including my Blue framily who have loved me and brought their own special light into my life.

I have started to see some of the lessons God is teaching me through this terrible journey.

One of my big lessons is about gratitude.

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

Words cannot express how grateful I am.  I have realized, when I focus on my gratitude for how awesome Davey was and all the great times we spent together, some of Davey’s light seeps back into my life.  Memories become warm and good instead of painful.  When I am grateful for the time we had with Davey, my world seems less empty and much less sad.

God gave us a precious gift for 34 years.

And I am extremely grateful.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

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.

After years of working at facing my fears, 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, scarey 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 supporting 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.

#8144loveyou

 

When the Answer is No

This is a tough one.  It took me quite a while to come to ‘a good place’ on this topic.  It took me even longer to be willing to share it.

God could have saved my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  God is everywhere and he knows everything and he can do anything.

Nothing is impossible for him.

So, no matter what any doctor said, God could have saved Davey.

That night in the hospital with Davey hooked up to all the machines lying there motionless, my husband and I walked up and down the hall outside of Davey’s room praying for a miracle and asking everyone we saw to pray for a miracle.  The halls of the hospital were lined with people praying for a miracle.  Three waiting rooms were filled, many of of those people were praying with us for a miracle.

It was our only hope.

When Davey’s brain waves disappeared early the next morning, we understood that we were not going to get that miracle.  The heartbreak was overwhelming.  It hurt so bad that it was a hard to breathe.  Our world was blown apart.  Such a sudden, huge, painful hole in our lives.

I wanted to ask why but I already understood that the answer was not to ask “why’ but to trust God.  I already knew the historical account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who role-modelled this thousands of years ago.  Right before King Nebuchadnezzar was about to throw them into a blazing furnace because they would not worship him, the three men testified to the king and the watching crowd that their God was able to save them.  “But even if he does not, ” they stated, they weren’t going to worship the king.  They trusted God to either save them or let them die – whichever accomplished God’s purposes here on earth.

They were declaring that – even if God did not give them a miracle – they were going to trust him.  In their story, they received a miracle and walked out of the blaze without a scratch on them.

That’s not my story.  We did not get a miracle.  I will probably never totally understand the purpose of this terrible tragedy this side of heaven.

But I will trust God and move forward in obedience until the day he calls me home.

Jesus told all of us that in this world we will have many trials and sorrows……and this one is at the top of my list.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou.

How do I Answer This?

It never used to be a tough question….but now…

it can be a difficult one to answer.

When someone who doesn’t know me asks me, “Do you have any children?” my brain now goes through a whole series of decisions.  My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  So my answer to this question has drastically changed.  My husband and I just moved to Denver so we are going through that ‘getting to know you’ phase with neighbors and this question automatically comes up.

“Do you have any children?” used to be my favorite question to ask and answer but now it’s become complicated.  Do I want to get into the whole story?  I have to get into some of it.  How much of it do I want to share?  I love talking about Davey but I don’t like to share a lot of details about his death with strangers.  I never know which emotional buttons will be triggered and having tears roll down my face is not a great ice breaker as I’m getting to know people.

“Do you have any children?” should be an easy question to answer but it has become a difficult one for me.  If my emotions are running high, I’ll just talk about my other kids and then jump into all the great things about my grand darlings.  That usually distracts people and they don’t ask anything else.  Some people are naturally curious and like to know details – details I don’t want to get into.  So sometimes I just act like I misunderstand what they are asking and answer a different question. 

I have no problem talking about Davey with people who knew him.  We share stories and smile.  We remember good times together.  Some of the stories still bring the tears but they are good tears from great memories of an awesome person.

My heart often yearns to go back to when Davey was here.  My brain knows I can’t but my heart feels the hole, the huge empty spot in my life.  This is the place where my tears come from.  This is the place that is often touched when I’m asked, “Do you have any children?”

Lately, I have just started answering this question like I used to – ” I have a son and a daughter.”  And then I will explain my son was a Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty and my daughter lives here in Denver”.  It works for me.  I still have a son, he’s just in heaven right now instead of Phoenix.

Davey is still very alive in my heart so it feels good to talk about him in the present tense.  He is moving forward with me – he will always be a part of my life.  Nothing will ever change that.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

It Has Already Been Decided

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

These last 4 1/2 years have been the most difficult and painful time of my life.

One of the ways God has comforted me is through this truth – ” A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” Job 14:5.

God has already decided which day will be the last day of your life here on earth and mine.

Knowing this helped me let go of my mother when she passed away 16 years ago.  We had a very close relationship and she was my role-model for how a Christian woman lives her life faithful to God – all the way to her last breath here on earth.  I realized, if God wanted her in heaven with him, then that’s what I wanted for her.  She was an awesome grandmother to my children and this picture of her with Davey brings back great memories of all of my mother’s famous cinnamon rolls we ate together.  We only had one rule – nobody counted how many rolls anybody ate.  If there are cinnamon rolls in heaven, you can bet that these two are still gobbling down a bunch of these together today.

davey-and-grandma-rolls

Fifteen years ago I found myself in ICU with twelve blood clots in my lungs.  Have you ever seen a doctor look scared when they tell you this is a life-threatening situation?  Laying in the emergency room, I heard God clearly tell me that I wasn’t going to die from this.  Later, five doctors kind of looked at me in awe and told me the blood clots should have killed me.

It just wasn’t my day.

I know that God has reasons for picking May 18 as Davey’s final day here on earth.  I may never understand those reasons but I trust God.  And, since God wants him in heaven, that’s what I want for Davey.

Knowing that this date was determined before Davey was born helps me avoid needless regrets like –

  • I wish he hadn’t gone on that call.
    • It wouldn’t have mattered.  This was his day.
  • I wish he hadn’t gone to work that day.
    • It would have happened no matter what he was doing.
  • I wish he hadn’t been a police officer.
    • He was born to be a police officer and he died honorably, serving his community and doing what he loved to do.  He wouldn’t have wanted to live or die any other way.

It was decided.  There is no ‘wishing’ something else had happened.  God decreed the number of Davey’s days here on earth and then he took Davey home.

Now, standing on a foundation of God’s love and strength and grace, I am figuring out how to move forward.    I am still here because God has a purpose for me and that’s what my life needs to be about until the day God has already determined when he will come to bring me home.

I don’t know all the details of my future but meanwhile, through the tears, I’m focusing on loving God and loving other people.

A bigger chunk of my heart is now in heaven with you, Abba Father.

The Bomb – 4 years later

A bomb exploded in my life on May 18, 2016.

My plans were made.  I was on a course for my life that had my son’s smile and laughter plastered all over it.

And then the bomb went off – sending my life onto a whole new trajectory.  My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on Mary 18, 2016.

That day my life was thrown onto a path I never wanted to be on.  None of my former plans fit the journey I am on now.

I know I’m not alone.  There is a large group of us who were loving life with Davey when the bomb went off.  And now we find ourselves in this other world…..which is significantly darker….and has an obvious empty space,

Don’t tell me time heals all wounds.  This mother’s heart has a hole in it which will not be healed this side of heaven.

But….

here I am……

  • Putting Davey’s memorial bracelet on my wrist every morning – missing him, surprised that it’s been over four years since he was killed.  It feels like yesterday.  Except so much has changed.  Everything has changed.
  • Blue has become my favorite color because it reminds me of Davey’s commitment to be a great police officer.  My house decorations are blue, a lot of my clothes are blue and I’ve changed my Christmas decorations to mainly blue.
  • I’ve been retired for over 3 years and my retirement looks drastically different than I thought it was going to look 4 1/2 years ago.  It’s like I stepped into a different world, a place I would never have chosen.

And here we are….

  • We cancelled our trip to Washington, DC for Police Week this year when the whole thing was cancelled.  So disappointing.  Really wanted to see the museum and spend some more time at the memorial.
  • One of Davey’s buddies on his squad and I just designed a new David Glasser hat with 8144 on the front which is being sold in the store on the David Glasser Foundation website.  I love seeing people like Easton in this picture wearing Davey’s hats and shirts – remembering him and honoring him.  I consider remembering one fallen officer honors all of them so I love to see any fallen officer being remembered.

We’re on a very different path than any of us expected before May 18th, 2016.

About 6 months after Davey was killed, I was shopping and found a small plate with ‘Embrace the Journey’ written on it.  I stood in that store in front of this plate for a long time.

Thinking……………………………….

About the bomb that has gone off in my life and in the lives of so many people I love.

Thinking about the pain and the grief and the tears.

Now, 4 1/2 years later, I think about the awful road we have had to travel.  It has been uphill all the way ……. but we have traveled it together.

The last words Davey said to all of us were “Love you”.

I think about how much love has changed this journey.

We have learned a lot about loving each other in these last 4 1/2 years.  We have learned a lot about what’s really important – and what’s not.  Our hearts have grown bigger as we’ve reached out in love to the people moving forward with us on this journey.

It is definitely a journey. 

I am so glad that, standing in the store 4 years ago, I decided to Embrace the Journey.  God has placed me on this extremely tough road for a purpose.  He has walked closely beside me so far and I know he will give me strength and peace the rest of the way.

Of course I bought the dish and now I put my wedding ring and Davey’s memorial bracelet on it every night.  My wedding ring changed after Davey was killed, too.  I added blue sapphires to it.  Fallen but never forgotten.

I place my ring with its blue sapphires on this dish next to Davey’s memorial bracelet at the end of each day and consider my journey.  Some days are harder than others depending on the roller coaster of emotions the events of the day contained.  Sweet memories.  Sad losses.  One day might have many ups and downs and then the next is filled with gratitude for 34 years with Davey.  Each day I am reminded of my commitment to Embrace this Journey.

One day at a time.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

 

 

It’s Contagious

Law Enforcement is one of the most contagious careers I have ever seen.  When dad or mom is a doctor, there is often one doctor in the family.  If a parent is a lawyer, there might be one child who becomes a lawyer.  Or one child becomes a pastor when a parent or a grandparent is a pastor.

But how often do you see all three kids in the family become doctors?  Or lawyers?  Or pastors?

Not very often.  One of the exceptions is law enforcement where it happens often.  Whole families of law enforcement  are everywhere – often including grandparents, cousins and in-laws.

Why is it so contagious?

Why does a child of a police officer become a police officer when they had a front row seat to the long hours, the self sacrifice and the danger?

It’s because they have a front row seat that they also see the character, courage, strength and integrity it takes to be a good police officer.  Many other people talk about making a difference in the world and then go into their safe places to work where they spend countless hours trying to increase profits – it’s all about the money.  Every day.  A few of them might write a check to a charity of their choice – that’s as close as they come to making a difference.

Law Enforcement Officers are front line difference makers.  Every stop, every call, every situation – they have an opportunity to make their community safer and protect the innocent.  They come face to face with the evil that the rest of us try very hard to avoid.  We run from danger, they run toward danger.

I will never forget watching a video of the Boston Marathon bombing.  The bombs went off and people started screaming as they ran away – except the first responders.  They ran towards the bombs, toward the danger.  Difference-makers.

Law Enforcement careers attract people who respect law and order.  These people believe in sacrificing themselves to help others.  They know that serving their communities is honorable no matter what anybody else says.  They dedicate their lives to pushing back the evil in our communities so that the innocent can have a safe place to live and raise their families.  Difference-makers.  Instead of just talking about it, they are doing it.  Children of law enforcement officers see this – they live it – and they can’t imagine dedicating their lives to anything else.  So they become officers.

There are more careers usually in the serving category that are contagious as well.   I know there are teaching families, fire-fighting families and military families.  Why?  These are also difference – making careers.

My husband and I both served in the U.S. Military and I was a little surprised when neither of my children showed any interested in going into the military.  Then I had to smile when my son, David Glasser, started talking about becoming a police officer.  That’s as close as you can get to being in the military without being in the military.  I totally understand why many people go into law enforcement after years in the military.  Respect for law and order, serving your country, self-sacrifice, honor, courage – it’s all the same.  Being a difference-maker.

It’s contagious.

Davey lost his life in service to his community.  It’s a tragedy.  It’s very difficult and painful for those of us who have been left behind.  I am thankful that he died honorably – protecting and serving others.  Davey was a difference-maker.  His life and death has had a big influence on many people and the David Glasser Foundation is still making an impact on the lives of children and families in high risk areas of Phoenix today.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou