I’m Struggling to be Thankful

It’s been harder to be thankful these last 3 Thanksgivings.

These last three years have been the most difficult years of my life.  There has been so much pain and sorrow.

So many tears.

It’s hard to be thankful when there is this painful emptiness in my life where my son, Davey, used to be.  He lived his life large so he left a huge hole when he was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.

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 also 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.

This 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 day.

That call.

The shock.

The grief.

The nightmare.

The horrible reality.

But….

then……

when I think about the very special gift I was given 38 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, it’s hard not to smile.

And I’m thankful for every minute.

I’m thankful to our Father God who has been walking closely beside me through this dark time – comforting me and drawing me closer to him.

I’m also thankful for our many family and framily members 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.  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…..

during this week of Thanksgiving.

Love you!

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

Happy 38th Birthday, Davey

This coming Tuesday would have been Davey’s 38th Birthday.

Many of the reports on the media said he was 35 when he was killed in the line of duty on May 19, 2016.  They got that wrong.  Remember this whenever you read something from the media – they 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.  We could always count on him to be thinking up something fun to do or somewhere interesting 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 got dark, only stopping long enough to gobble down some hotdogs and cake.  Davey loved hanging out all day with his ‘brothers’. 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!

38 years ago 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 newborn son in my arms wondering if it was wise to bring a new life into this kind of world – a world where we have to be careful about 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 gravestone with my son’s name on it.

I go there almost every week.  Not because I believe he’s there –  I know where he is and he is happy there.

I visit his spot just trying to make sure that it looks as good as it can being out in the middle of wind and sand and sprinklers.  He died honorably, giving his life to protect and serve others and I want to do what I can so his spot reflects that when people stop.  The cemetery staff has told me that this fallen officer area is the most visited section of their cemetary.

Two years ago, the Cardinals played an away game on Davey’s birthday and his tailgating buddies decided to watch the game at Davey’s spot at the cemetery.  They invited a bunch of us to tailgate with them.  I’m not sure that has been done before but Davey would have loved it!  He also would have had something clever and funny to say about the extremely inconvenient lack of bathrooms in the cemetery.

Each year on Davey’s birthday, my family and framily join together to release balloons in remembrance of a very special man we all miss.  After writing my message of love on my balloon and letting go of the string, I love watching all of the balloons rise peacefully into the sky.  I can’t help wondering how much Davey knows of what has gone on down here on earth.  God doesn’t tell us a lot of details in the Bible about what heaven will be like so much of it is left to our imagination.  Personally, I don’t think people in heaven have very much contact with the ones they have left behind.  It’s God that is in daily contact with us and I believe he sometimes sends us signs and dreams that he knows will comfort us and bring good memories of those we have lost.  But, it’s possible, that on Davey’s birthday, God opens the portal of heaven to let Davey see all of us smiling up at heaven sending him messages of love.

That idea makes me smile.

Love you, Davey.

Miss you.

#8144loveyou

I Was Surprised

That was the first time I realized what a blow Davey’s death was to our Blue family and to the whole city of Phoenix.

This was much bigger than family and friends and people who knew him.  This was my whole big blue family grieving.  This was the metropolitan city of Phoenix feeling the loss.  I had never experienced that amount of serious grief and pain in one room.

Unbelievable.

The speakers at Davey’s funeral were awesome and I appreciated everything people shared.

I did not expect to be surprised by a few things that people shared.  I knew Davey well and spent a ton of time with him.  As his mother, I thought I knew all about him.  But two things that were shared were not things I expected.

One of them is Davey’s Legacy of Love – he made a big deal out of saying ‘love you’ to his squad members before he left on a call and he would stand there, waiting for them to say it back to them.  I knew Davey always said it to me, I just didn’t know that it was the last thing that he said to everyone that he cared about in his life.  I didn’t know that he had his whole squad of tough police officers saying it to each other before they left on a call.  I also didn’t know at the time of his funeral how Davey’s legacy of love was going to totally change the journey we have been on since that day.  Love is the answer.  God has infused love with a magic that provides strength and comfort in the worst situations.  I never experienced that until Davey was killed.

The other thing that surprised me was how many of the speakers talked about Davey sharing his faith.  I shouldn’t be surprised because he had a very strong faith.   I just never heard him sharing his faith with other people so I didn’t realize he talked about God as much as he did.  Now I realize that, if he cared about you and he wasn’t sure you believed in Jesus, he would bring it up….often.  In fact, he didn’t let the subject die, he kept talking about it.  He would challenge his friend’s beliefs and unbelief.

How awesome!  It’s just another reason why I’m proud of the man Davey was.  Davey accepted Jesus as his Savior as a child and continued to grow in his faith through the rest of his life.  In this picture, Davey and my husband, Dave, are at a Promise Keeper’s Christian Men’s Rally.  Promise Keepers taught men all about living a life of integrity and keeping their promises.  Davey learned that lesson very well – those of you who knew him already were aware of that.

God provided a great church family for us which was the village that helped grow Davey’s faith.  Davey went to church camp and mission trips every year – living out his faith and having a great time doing it.  This picture is of one of the groups of kids that went on a church mission trip when Davey was in high school.  He is in the back row next to Jay Van Gelder who spoke at his funeral.  And Kristen is in the front row.  We had no idea that they would marry not too many years after this picture was taken.

Davey sets a good role model for those of us who believe.  We need to share our faith and what we know to be true – and we need to keep sharing it.

And do it all while we love people.

Just like Davey did.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

Dust

My dreams were crushed.

The vision of what my future here on earth was going to be blew apart.

All of the smiles and love and good times that I expected to have with my son, David Glasser, were ripped away on May 18, 2016 when he was shot and killed in the line of duty.

There are places in my life that are filled with disappointments from all I have lost.  Actually, calling them disappointments is like calling a hurricane a little rainstorm.  I’m disappointed when my team doesn’t win, I’m disappointed when a friend doesn’t text me back – those are disappointments.

Davey’s death caused devastation.

It was a crushing blow.

All that was left of my hopes and dreams of his future and my part in it was dust.  How do I deal with the dust?  What do I do with this leftover little bit of an extremely important part of my life?

I didn’t know.  I just knew I didn’t want to go down the angry and bitter road that I’ve seen some survivors go down.  I didn’t want to go the hopeless route, blaming others for my unhappiness.

I didn’t know what to do with the dust so I gave it to God.  I trusted that the Creator of all Things could do something with the dust …..and he has.  As I have watched, I am seeing him begin to create a new part of me in the empty space – something stronger, more compassionate, increasingly solid and based on his truth.  He has helped me refocus my eyes off of this world which is not my home and onto my next ‘forever home’.

God has given a purpose to my dust and is remolding me through the devastation that has happened in my life.  It’s very evident that he’s not done.  He is in the process of re-creating what my future looks like on this earth.

For now, that is enough.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou