Of Course They Did

Last week in this blog you read about the tree we planted a couple of years ago by Davey’s spot in the cemetery.  I mentioned that it was crooked – blown around by the fierce winds out on the edge of the city.

This week I received a call from the Phoenix Police Department asking me if they could straighten the tree.  Officer Paul Rutherford was buried right next to Davey so the tree was going to be in the center of his ceremony at the cemetery.   And the Phoenix PD wanted everything to look great so they wanted to straighten out the tree.

Of course they did!  That’s what they do, isn’t it?  They straighten out accidents on our freeways.  They straighten out situations in our neighborhoods. They help people straighten out their lives.  They are experts at straightening out things.

So, of course, I said yes to letting them straighten Davey’s tree.

And it looks great!

In this picture, Davey’s tree is standing tall and strong in front of Officer Rutherford’s squad as they say their final goodbyes to their brother in blue.  It’s almost like Davey is standing there, honoring his brother as well.  As usual, he’s right in the middle of what’s going on.  I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

This part of the cemetery is starting to feel like hallowed ground.  There are several fallen officers buried in this same area.  They remind us of the high level sacrifice demanded from Law Enforcement officers.  They remind us of the huge amount of courage it takes to wear the uniform of one of the ‘good guys’ in a culture that no longer respects ‘good guys’.  They remind us to show our love and support for all law enforcement officers as often as we get a chance.

We remember,

we honor,

we will never forget.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

Strong Enough

I put the wind chime on his tree this week.

The wind chime was given to us by Donate Life America in memory of David Glasser, my son, a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty May 18, 2016.  He was young and in great health when he was killed and his wish was to be an organ donor.  So my daughter-in-law, Kristen, made sure that happened even though it’s not an emotionally easy thing to do.

Davey loved people.  He proved it by his choices in his life and he again proved it by his choices in death.  Because of his love, several people received life-changing organs and skin which gave them hope and a new tomorrow.  It was a new tomorrow that Davey never had.

If you’ve been following my story, you know that we planted a tree by his spot in the cemetery that first year after he died.  I felt that it was too stark out there and too empty……and way too hot in the summer.  I needed to have something positive and growing there.  Practically, I also needed some shade when I clean his grave markers.

The sad news is that our first tree died.  Wow!  Just tack that on to a long list of disappointments.

The good news is that the replacement tree is doing much better.  It’s a little crooked because the wind has been pushing the young tree around.  I kind of like it that way, it reminds me of how the death of my son has been pushing me around for almost 3 years.  I relate – I feel a little crooked, too.

The tree has been growing stronger.  I’ve been feeding it plant food, trying to get its roots to grow farther down into the sandy soil so it can withstand the dust storms and the rain storms that hit the cemetery with fierce power.

The tree looks like it has grown strong enough to hold the wind chime.  The wind chime itself is very heavy – designed to be outside.  I like how heavy it is – it represents a mixture of huge grief and huge life and huge love that fills my heart when I think of Davey.  The chiming reminds me that there are pieces of Davey still alive in this world and his love for people is still making a difference in many ways.

I think the tree is now strong enough to hold this wind chime and all it represents.

Unlike me.

There are days when I wonder if I have the strength to live these next twenty or thirty years on this planet without Davey.  Too much pain.  Too much loss.  The world has become a darker place…..emptier.  Memories are good – for a while.  But they don’t fill the hole.

Yes, there are days like that.  And I know the answer for me is to turn to God and let him be the foundation I stand on for the rest of my time on this planet.

There are other days when Davey’s spirit and love are very evident – they haven’t disappeared.  These are the days when I’m reminded by his son and his daughter how much fun we had with Davey and that he was such a great dad!  He would be so proud of both of them!   On these days, the memories are enough and its clear that those of us left behind still have a lot to accomplish on this earth.  There is a purpose for this very tough journey.

On these days I feel strong enough.

And the wind chime will be there to remind me every time I visit his spot that his life mattered….and it still matters.

Miss you, Davey

#8144loveyou

 

Yes

My broken heart hurts for the pain the Rutherford family is experiencing and all the struggles yet to come..

My Family Bleeds Blue

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 in the line of duty.

The recent line of duty death of State Trooper Tyler Edenhofer has been hard.  He was so young with so much ahead of him.  Such a tragedy.  He was killed very close to my old neighborhood here in Phoenix but, truthfully, all of our neighborhoods are at risk.  We need our Thin Blue Line.

I can’t stop thinking and praying for Trooper Edenhofer’s family and friends.  My broken heart hurts for the pain they are experiencing and the struggles yet to come.  I know they are waking up each morning hoping it was…

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Clean Feet

He was very clever with a quick wit.

I miss that.

I could count on Davey to bring a smile to my face at the most unexpected moments.  His mind instantly thought up humorous quips about what was happening around us.  He was a strategically complex thinker so various details all connected in his brain and came out as extremely funny and on-point comments.

I know you’re wondering what all that has to do with clean feet.

Our family travelled a lot together and one of my favorite trips was our 2 1/2 weeks in Italy after my daughter graduated from college.  We spent 3 days in Venice, 2 days in Florence and then 3 more days in Rome before heading to Naples for a night and then a 5-hour train ride down to Brindisi where we spent a week on the beaches of the Adriatic Sea.

Wow!  We never had a bad meal in Italy.  Great food!  The same could not be said of Italian bathrooms – specifically showers.  Anybody who is larger than average doesn’t fit into their tiny showers.  It’s like they took a teeny corner of the bathroom, attached two small pieces of glass to it and a shower head and called it a shower.  Those of us with broad shoulders could barely turn around in it and forget about reaching down for anything you might drop.  The girls of the family were super-happy when we stayed a night at a Holiday Inn in Naples because they had an American-sized shower – room to shave our legs!  Yeah!

Early in the trip, Davey started talking about the great footwasher he had in his bathroom.  Interesting!  My husband and I were in a room next door to his and Kristen’s and we didn’t have a footwasher in our bathroom.  Davey kept mentioning what a great job it did so I asked if I could see if before we moved on to the next city.

When he gave me one of his sneaky smiles, I knew something was up.  He had hooked me and he was enjoying it.  So I followed him into his bathroom and watched as he wedged his big size 13 foot into the bidet and flushed it.

Yes, the bidet.  If you don’t know what that is, you’ll have to look it up.  We don’t have them in the U.S.

Of course, Davey had a huge grin on his face the whole time he was explaining the many great features of this footwasher and how clean his feet were.

Of course, my husband thought it was an awesome idea so he had to do it, too.

Men!

On the other hand, clean feet are a really nice thing to have when you’re walking all over the cities of Italy.  Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea.

Either way, it’s a great memory of a fun time.  I’m so glad we spend a lot of time with him when we could…..because we didn’t know his time was going to be so short.

Miss you, Davey

#8144loveyou

I See It

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 has started 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 these last almost 3 years –

*Let the tears flow.  Cry when you want, don’t try to hide it.  I have stopped wearing mascara because I cry often.  That’s just how it is now.

*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 ton of different issues and come to terms with them in my mind.  The fog in my brain gradually lifted as 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.  Something about this process helps organize our thoughts and gets 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.

#8144loveyou