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’.
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.