It’s Hard to be Thankful

It’s very hard to be thankful this Thanksgiving.

This year has been the most difficult year of my life.  There has been so much pain and sorrow.

So many tears.

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

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 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.

The 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 night.

The shock.

The grief.

The nightmare.

The horrible reality.

But….

then……

when I think about the very special gift I was given 35 years ago,

it’s very hard not to be thankful.

When I focus on the over-34-years that I was blessed to have Davey in my life, its hard not to smile.

And I’m thankful for every minute.

I’m thankful to our Father God who has been walking closely beside us through this dark time – comforting us and gradually healing our broken hearts.

I’m also thankful for  our many family members and friends who have loved us and cared for us and are still praying for us today.  We share awesome memories.  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 today.  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…..

on this day of Thanksgiving.

Love you!

 

 

Happy Birthday, Dave

Today would have been Dave’s 35th birthday.

Yes, the media got that wrong, too.  Remember this whenever you read something from the media – even when they aren’t making things up, using pictures out of context and changing faces on pictures, they still 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.  You could count on him to be thinking up something to do or somewhere 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 started getting dark, only stopping long enough to gobble down some hotdogs and cake.daveys-25thkate-and-dave-cardinals 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!

35 years ago today, 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 new son in my arms wondering if it was wise to bring a new life into this kind of world – where we have to be careful 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 grave stone with my son’s name on it.

I go there every week – not because he’s there.  I know where he is and he is happy there.daveys-spot-on-birthday

I visit his spot just to make sure that it looks good.  He died honorably, giving his life to protect and serve others and I want his spot to reflect that when people stop.  And the cemetery staff tells us that a lot of people stop to pay their respects.

I added something new this week. I’m sure Davey would approve.

A message to all of you.

Fear His Agents of Wrath

We voted last week…

But God tells us who really puts the governing authorities in place.  He does.

Be afraid, those who choose evil.evil-shall-fear-me

When you do evil, God’s servants –  His Agents of Wrath – will hunt you down and punish you.  They do not wear weapons for nothing.  They serve God by bringing punishment upon wrongdoers.

Anyone who rebels against the authorities that God has put into place brings judgement upon themselves.  There is no one else to blame.

After his death, we found this on Davey’s phone:romans-13

He believed it.  He lived it.

Being a policeman was not just a job to him.  It was an assignment from God.  It was standing for what is right and fighting against what is wrong.

And I know that most of my brothers and sisters who wear the uniform do it for the same reason.

Not because its fun….

Or easy…

or popular.

Defending the innocent while bringing punishment upon the wrongdoer is a calling from God.

And the wrongdoer should be VERY afraid.

Because the entire Army of God is fighting with his Mighty Warriors in Blue to overcome evil in this world.

Yes, sometimes the evil ones win a battle – like they did on May 18, 2016.

But they will not win the war.

We know how this battle will end.  God has already claimed victory.

 

I Catch A Glimpse

They sealed his locker this week.

His squad did an awesome job of turning his locker into a beautiful memorial to their fallen team member and brother and friend. daves-locker

As we stood in the men’s locker room at the precinct, it took me a little while to realize I was looking around, over the heads of everyone else (because his head always stuck out of a crowd), looking for Davey.

In the sea of the blue, it was an automatic reaction.

And then,

I remembered…..

I wasn’t going to see him here today.

Or ……..

These events are bitter-sweet.  It’s great to get together to honor Davey and the sacrifice he made in order to protect and defend others.

These times of remembering also shine a light on the big hole that has been left in our lives.

When I saw his Cardinals hat on the top shelf of his locker, I caught a quick glimpse of him wearing that hat and smiling at me with eyes that look so much like mine.

I love catching glimpses of him.

Sometimes, as I sit on my couch watching a kid’s movie on TV, out of the corner of my eye, I see a 6 year-old Davey sitting on the other couch,  watching the movie with me.

When I look over, it’s obviously not Davey.  It’s his son, Micah.

So much like his father.

davey-about-5-edittedMicah 6:8, “He has shown you, O man, what is good, and what does the LORD require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Justice and mercy and humbleness before God is stamped on his heart and soul.

His long legs spread out in odd directions when he’s getting comfortable.

Such a bright smile!

Intelligent and kind eyes.

That big head full of ideas and questions and plans.

His gentleness with his sister.

And his exasperation with her when she shows her ‘strong will’ and doesn’t want to have fun.daveyand-baby-katie-editted

He needs to know the rules and follow the rules.  He doesn’t want to get into trouble.  Doesn’t like to get a ‘time out’.

But he will question the rules.  They have to make sense to him.

He loves sports……all of them.

And he knows A LOT more about sports than most kids his age.

He can be goofy and clown around.  Life is good when everyone around him is having a good time.

He loves his family. They are extremely important to him.

And he loves his friends.  It’s not hard to become his friend…..his heart is always open for another one.

He loves to go…. and do… and have fun.

davey-about-7-editttedHe’s an obvious extrovert who loves people.

And he loves God.  He knows a lot of the Bible stories – one of his favorites is David and Goliath.

Am I talking about Davey or Micah?

You guessed it –

I’m talking about both of them.

Don’t get me wrong – Micah’s personality is also packed with awesome things that are uniquely Micah.  I’m very interested to see how all of these great qualities roll up into the amazing young man he is destined to be.

Meanwhile, I will treasure these  ‘glimpses’ of Davey…..

until I go ‘home’ and see the real thing again.