Finishing What He Started

Davey cared.  He didn’t just say ‘Love you’, he showed it and lived it.

He wanted our community to be a safe place for families to live and kids to play.

When he was 12 years-old he took a summer job as a junior counselor at a Boys and Girls Club in a high-risk area of Phoenix.  He wanted those kids to have a safe summer playing games and having lots of fun.

I will never forget – on his first day of being a counselor, one of the little kids vomited and Davey had to clean it up.  Yuck!  But it was an early lesson about how – when you care – you often find yourself in the middle of the yuck and mess of other’s lives and choices.

What a great lesson for a young man who would later choose to become part of the Thin Blue Line between the innocent and the evil.  He cared and he did something about it.  Everyday as a Police Officer, he stood for what is good and right in our world – pushing back the evil and often ending up in other people’s yuck.  He knew Police Officers weren’t perfect – he wasn’t perfect.  But they are willing to stand for what is safe and right.   They don’t just talk about it or throw some money at it – they are willing to put their lives on the line….because they care about making our communities safe.

Davey requested to work in high-risk areas of the city because the need for people who care is greater there.  The Thin Blue Line has to be stronger there.  He often told me that his goal was to put the people in our city who chose to put other lives in danger behind bars so they couldn’t hurt people anymore.  He received several commendations for his extra efforts against the monsters who beat up on babies and small children.

And he paid the highest price possible for his dedication to caring for our city when he was killed in the line of duty last year.

Davey made a significant contribution to our city when he was alive and he has inspired those of us who are left behind to make a difference through the David Glasser Foundation.  We are continuing the work that Davey started. 

You have probably heard that Davey loved sports – all sports.  The disciplined activity of sports helped him grow into a strong and confident and capable adult.  So the David Glasser Foundation is planning to get volunteer Police Officers involved in developing sports clinics and leagues in the high-risk areas of our city to honor Davey’s love of sports and to share with other kids the positive benefits of sports.  This will also give the people in the community a chance to interact with Police Officers in a positive environment .

Davey’s life on earth has ended but his legacy of love is just starting to unfold.

Thank you for all of the support and love so many of you have already shown us.  Together, we are growing Davey’s legacy and continuing the battle.

 

#8144loveyou

#fallenbutnotforgotten

When. Not If.

The question is not ‘if’ something bad is going to happen to us.

The right question is ‘when’.

Because something bad is going to happen sometime in our future.

Failure, separation, broken relationships.

Disease, accidents, illness, pain, death.

It’s going to happen.  And most of the time it will happen when we least expect it.

A very close friend of mine received a huge shock this last week when her beautiful daughter-in-law didn’t wake up one morning.  33 years-old.  And she didn’t wake up.

She was fine the day before.

She leaves behind a husband, a 3 year-old son, and a large number of family and friends who never expected something like this to happen.

Many times there is no warning.  I was on my normal commute home from work when I got the call about Davey being shot.

It’s not ‘if’, the question is ‘when’.

So do we live our lives with a cloud of worry and fear over our heads just waiting for the next ax to fall?

Or do we ignore the inevitable and deal with it when it happens?

Neither of those sounds like good option to me.  The tragedy that blew my life apart is not going to cause me to spend the rest of my life focused on dreading the next bad thing.  But I’m also not going to pretend that there are no more hard times coming.

I have chosen to try to find a balance somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.  I am working on growing my faith – getting closer to God.  I’m growing my understanding – since I’ve been thrown into this unthinkable situation of losing a child, I want to understand more about this journey.  I am also trying to grow my resilience in the face of adversity – strengthening the process I use when bad things happen.  Because they are going to happen.

I tend to lean more in the positive direction than the negative – life is more good than bad.  I like to focus on good things – they make the struggle all worth it.

And I have learned a lot about love this last year.  When we show love to those around us – even when we don’t know them – it really does matter.  Each expression of love, every hand that reaches out, any show of kindness and love – it all matters.

Flying across the country to celebrate your step-grandfather’s 90th birthday and putting your arm around him so your mom can take a picture matters – especially when 90 was the last birthday his step-grandfather celebrated.

It’s all worth the effort.  When we love each other, we’re on the right track.

Because it’s not a question of ‘if’.

The right question is ‘when’.

And, as we love each other, it makes ‘when’ better.

All of you have proven this over and over to me this last year.

Love you!

 

#8144loveyou

 

He Loved Playing Basketball

Davey loved all sports.

You’ve probably heard all about his fanatic love for the Cardinals.  The NFL became his most-loved sport to watch as he grew into an adult.  I think the fun and party atmosphere of tailgating probably added to that attraction.

He loved people more than he loved sports.  It’s actually one of the reasons he loved sports – it always involved other people and teams.

Because he was a great team player.

He was aggressive and competitive.

He always wanted to play his best and he wanted his whole team to play their best so they could win.

He was consistently good so he was always a favorite of the coaches.  They could count on him to play a good game – every game.

He played baseball and basketball when he was younger but chose to focus on basketball when he got into Junior High School.  He went to basketball camps all summer long, every summer.  When he wasn’t at camp, he was at the park playing a pick up game with his buddies and whoever else would show up.  He had the opportunity to be on the same team as Richard Jefferson in high school.  I think it was a great eye-opener for him because he got to play with someone who actually had the potential to be a NBA player.  It helped him put his thoughts of becoming a pro basketball player into a more real perspective.

Being a great team player also helped him be a great Police Officer.  He was competent and responsible.  You could depend on him to do his part plus more.

Loyalty was HUGE to him.  If you knew him, you knew this about him.  He wasn’t quiet about it.

He wasn’t quiet about anything that was important to him.

His personality was an unusual blend of loving to have fun but needing to follow the rules.  And he added fun and energy to whatever he did.  He had a very quick wit – amazingly clever quips would come out of his mouth at just the right time to bring a big laugh from everyone around him.

Does anyone have a clever comment they heard Davey say that they want to share?

I am proud of the David Glasser Foundation as it begins to move forward, giving back to the Phoenix community which has been so great in their support of us and our Blue Family.

The foundation is also planning to honor Davey’s love of sports by developing sports camps and leagues in high risk areas of Phoenix with police officers as some of the coaches in order to help grow and develop healthy relationships.

Davey would have love that!

 

#8144loveyou

 

 

The Pain of Permanence

May 18, 2016 blew up my world – thrusting me into a dark, confusing, very sad place.  A place of grief.  A place I never wanted to go.

I have had other people very close to me die – my mother, father and older brother.

But this was not the same.  Not even close.

My son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police officer, was killed  in the line of duty.  And I can’t even explain how much worse it has been compared to other deaths in my family.

Yes, last year was a very tough year of ‘firsts’.

But now the pain of permanence has set in.  The reality of life long-term without Davey doesn’t seem possible.  Because, after a year, I know what that life feels like.

Now I know how empty his birthday feels without him.

I know what Christmas and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are like without Davey.

I know the heartbreak behind the smiles during the birthday parties of his children when a very happy and proud father is missing.

There are no words to describe how awful the permanence of this situation feels.  It’s impossible.  I believe strongly in the goodness of God…..but this doesn’t feel good.

In the months following May 18, 2016, I had no idea how my family and I would find our way back to our normal.  Now, as we start moving through our 2d year without Davey, I understand that we will never go back.

That time, that place is gone.

My life – our life – back there is gone.

So we have to move forward – a new life, a new reality, a new normal.  Without Davey.

Sometimes this new place is filled with sadness as the unending reality of the situation etches itself onto my soul.  Other times light shine through the darkness and possibilities peak around corners.

In some ways this year is going to be tougher than last year….

because its starting to feel very permanent.

 

You Need to Write a Letter

In fact, you probably need to write several letters.

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.

These 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.

But the danger is just as real.  If we weren’t super-aware of the danger before, this last year has made the possibility of you never coming back a reality for a whole big crowd of us.

My son, Davey, a Phoenix Policeman who was killed in the line of duty last year,  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 – Blue Family – we need to write some letters.  All of us.  Because none of us are promised tomorrow.

I have to admit –  I only recently started writing mine even though I’ve been thinking about it for a long time.  They aren’t easy to write – I used a lot of tissues and I’ve only got half of them written.  My goal is to get the rest safely tucked in our personal safe at home within the next two weeks.  So they’re ready for that time.  Whenever it comes.

If I stay on 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?

#8144loveyou