I’ve Been Here Before

Parts of the craziness surrounding us because of the Coronavirus feel very familiar to me.  It feels like I’ve been here before.

The uncertainty.  The concerns.  Bad news piling higher every day.  The world as I know it being gone.

I felt this after my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  So many unknowns.  Painful changes.  Dark days and even darker nights.

First came the unbelievable shock of his death.  Next was the huge funeral -the majority of that day is covered in a fog of pain and grief in my memory.  And then- somehow – those of us that loved him had to find a way to start moving through our days – shell-shocked by what had happened.  My mind swirled daily around the hope that it was all a nightmare…… a long nightmare.

Bad news grew as the reality of life without Davey become clearer.  So much lost – how can we possibly go on?  All of my plans and dreams for the future included Davey.  Every one of them was ripped away.

When our framily (family and friends who are family) got together in those first months, we would often sit in silence….staring.  There was nothing to say.  It was all too horrible.

For months I wondered why people I saw in public were smiling?  What did they have to laugh about?  It was hard being out around people who were happy with all their dreams still intact.  I felt like an island of pain and grief moving among people who had no idea what it feels like to have your whole world explode.

That’s one of the big differences about our situation today – we are all in it together.  We are all affected.  We are sharing this experience and – for me – this makes it a little easier.

Another huge difference about our situation today is that we know – someday – something about the virus will be figured out so we can gradually get back to a new normal.  Someday, the stock market will rebound, jobs will come back.  We will be able to hang out with our friends again and play sports again.

But Davey will not be coming back. There is no future on this earth that includes him.

That’s the worst that can happen.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

What Would He Say?

A good friend of my son, David Glasser, asked me the other day what I thought Davey would say about the Coronavirus.  Davey was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.

Davey was known for his quick and clever opinions on any topic.  He loved to make jokes and get people laughing.  He would wear funny hats and outfits sometimes because it caused people to smile.

After thinking for a minute, I said I knew he would take the virus very seriously.  He didn’t joke about things like this.

But he would have a great repertoire of clever quips about how crazy some people are responding to the pandemic.  Just like the news of the virus changes every day, every time one of us talked to him, he would have had new and even more hilarious things to say about the shopping insanity.

Wow!  I wish I could hear what he would say about people hoarding toilet paper!  Just thinking about it makes me smile.  I’m not as clever as he was so I can’t even imagine how much fun he would make of people buying up all the toilet paper in an effort to save themselves from the virus.

‘Save me, Charmin!’

He would have just as much to say about the fact that people are hoarding food.  People with a lot of food in their houses are still going to the store every day to get more….and more….and more.   I think extraverts are going to the store all the time because it’s one of the only approved places they can go.  Forget about the fact that going to the store provides more exposure to the virus for them.

Meanwhile, the rest of us who are not hoarding cannot get the supplies we need.  The supplies we need are piling up in other people’s houses and garages.

Who has my sanitizer wipes?

Yes, Davey would have a continually growing monologue of pointed and humorous comments to say about all this.

And you would hear it if you were out on the streets, helping people and putting yourself at risk like he would have been.

And that’s just what all first responders and health care professionals are doing right now – putting themselves in the direct line of the virus in order to serve and protect others. Please join me in a prayer for safety, courage and success for everyone on the front lines of this pandemic.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

I Changed My Mind

Now I want to go back.

In the past, whenever I would be talking with people who said they would like to go back to being 16 or 21 or 39, I would always say I didn’t want to go back.  Each age has its benefits and trials.  Each phase of my life has had its rewards and challenges.  I have never wanted to go back to redo or un-do things.

But I recently realized that I have changed my mind.  Now I want to go back – to any time before Davey was killed.   I would go through all the pain and grief since May 18, 2016 when he was killed in the line of duty if I could go back and relive my last hour with Davey.  Or just the last 10 minutes.  It would be worth it to see his smile one more time.  I just want to hear him laugh.

This picture of Davey was taken at his home about a month before he was killed.  I am so glad we took a bunch of family photos with him that day – they are all extremely precious to me.

When I got to his house that day, he had on some old, ragged, weird-colored clothes and he casually mentioned he was ready for the pictures.  He knew I always tried to do a little color coordinating when we took family photos and he probably put on his crazy clothes just to get a response from me.  I’ll never forget –  I gave him my ‘mom look’ and he laughed.  I knew he was joking so I didn’t have to say anything.  He changed his clothes without another word said – I’m sure he had it all planned out what he was really going to wear.  He just liked to joke around and have fun.  I really miss that.

I want to go back.  I would not  un-do anything – I just want to do it again.

But I know I can’t go back.  And in a group of people who are talking about going back, I probably wouldn’t bring this up because it hits the empty hole in my heart.  The hole that hurts.  The hole that makes it hard to smile sometimes.  It’s the hole that aches at times as I watch his children play sports – he would have been so proud of them.  He would have been spending a lot of time practicing with them and helping them improve – he was a great coach.

My head knows I can’t go back but my heart wants to.

My head knows that the only direction I can go is forward.  All of the great things happening with the David Glasser Foundation have been helping to make moving forward easier.  Being able to continue the work Davey started with the kids and families in Laveen helps the future look brighter.  Witnessing the great things taking place through the efforts of everyone who volunteers for the foundation and supports the foundation brings a purpose and light into my life.  Seeing kids’ lives being positively changed because of the work of the foundation brings joy.

But I would still go back….in a heartbeat.

Miss you, Davey.

The Pit

The pain is burned into my memory.

The grief is deeply etched into my soul.

That day – the day my son, David Glasser who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.  May 18, 2016.

It’s the day when my life as I knew it exploded.  All my expectations for the future had Davey in them so it was all ripped away, leaving a huge, hurting hole in my life.  After almost four years, I know that nothing will ever fill that hole.

I totally understand why people like me get stuck in a pit of despair.  I’ve been there.  I was violently pushed into a deep, dark place of grief by Davey’s death …. and I wanted to stay there.  Clutching his smile, his jokes, his integrity, and his love for others close to my heart, I didn’t want to move.  The dark felt good and right – my shattered heart felt right at home.

But my head knew that – somehow – I was going to need to crawl out of that pit.  I knew I could not let myself get stuck there.

With God’s help, I moved toward the light.  One step at a time.  Some days my steps went backwards but I was moving.  I made myself look up instead of back and, when I looked up, I saw my two little grand darlings – Davey’s children – who needed me.  I saw my daughter and husband who needed me.  I saw framily and friends who needed me.  There is a reason I was still here and it was not to stay in that dark, terrible, but somehow comforting pit.

Looking back I realize that lying under the need to stay in the pit was a numbing fear that, if I moved forward, I would leave Davey behind.  That hasn’t happened.  All of my love and memories of him have moved forward with me.  He was and is and always will be a part of me.  He’s not here but he’s not gone.

For Davey, there are no more tomorrows here on earth but those of us left behind have important tomorrows where we need to be engaged and loving and – somehow – find hope again.  It’s the hope that only faith in God can give.

So the challenge for me and for you is to love others around us like there is no tomorrow because, someday, there won’t be.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

He Talked About It – Every Time

He noticed it.

He talked about it.

He took pictures of it all the time.

David Glasser, my son, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty May 18, 2016.  He lived in Goodyear which is on the far west side of Phoenix so he was often on the I-10 driving east  – going to work, to the Cardinal’s games, to ASU games, to Diamondback games, shopping, seeing friends – lots of reasons to get on the freeway going east.

And every time – without fail – Davey would make sure to notice the gigantic American flag at Camping World just south of the freeway.  If anyone was in the car with him, he would always make a comment, ” Wow, the wind is just right today.  The flag looks great.”, “The flag is looking pretty worn out – they will probably be replacing it soon.” and “Look!  A new flag!”.  If his kids were in the car, no matter how small they were, he would ask them, “Where’s the big flag?” and they would eagerly point it out, happy to play along in this ritual with Dad.

Davey loved how great the flag looked as it flew over Phoenix – the city he was committed to protect and serve.  He was proud of being one of the good guys – a part of what’s right about America.  This picture of his favorite flag was found on Davey’s phone after he was killed.  He took it 2 days before his death.

After Davey was killed, Camping World somehow found out about his love for their flag.  So they presented the huge flag that was flying when Davey died to the Phoenix Police Department and they presented more normal-sized flags to Davey’s wife and kids.  Thank you, Camping World!  What a great way to honor him!

The huge flag eventually was given to the Phoenix Police Explorers group which is made up of both high school and college students from all over the valley.  The students give about 3000 hours service to their communities every year.  The Explorers took the flag with them on their summer trip that year up to Colorado and created their own ceremony to remember and honor Davey.

Tears stream down my face as I look at this picture of these young men and women standing at the foot of the Rocky Mountains with the flag Davey loved stretched out between them while the National Anthem was sung by one of the students.   With young people like these, there is hope for America.  They are in the process of becoming the brave people who fight for freedom that our National Anthem speaks of.

I was told that it was especially fitting because the flag was very worn and tattered on the end.

It’s tough on a flag to stand tall through the sun and wind and dust storms in Phoenix.

It was tough for Davey as he stood tall for justice and safety for the people of Phoenix.

And it’s still tough – every day – for our Law Enforcement Officers who stand tall in the thin blue line between the evil and the innocent – protecting our freedom to live safely in our communities.

When we see the American flag flying high over us – where ever we live – let us remember those at home and abroad who have given their lives to serve and protect us.  And let us remember those who are still sacrificing and protecting our freedom each day.

Davey loved the flag and what it stands for.

Everytime I drive past a beautiful big flag waving in the wind I think of him……..and smile.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou