Love You

Two simple little words –

that are not simple

and they have had a huge impact on my life these last 4 1/2 years.

I have learned a lot about love since David Glasser, my son who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty May 18, 2016.  I knew Davey always said “love you’ to me instead of good-bye but I didn’t realize until I heard it at his funeral that he did this with everybody in his life that he cared about.  He made sure the other cops in his squad said ‘love you’ to each other before leaving on a call.  He knew how close they were –  and still are –  to not coming back.  Just like he didn’t come back.

I’ve been on this planet for a while and I have loved others and been loved by others my entire life.  But I never really understood the enormous power love has – until after Davey’s death.  Love has transformed my tragedy into a growing season.  It forced me to leave bitterness and anger behind – those emotions don’t fit when love is the focus.  And it has helped me be thankful for what I had and for what I still have.  Love has helped fill some of the huge hole created by the loss of Davey and it continues to cushion the rest so its possible to move forward.

Love is not simple.

Loving people who aren’t perfect and aren’t like us is not easy.

Loving people we don’t know or don’t like feels weird at first.

‘Love you’ is a commitment.  It means I always want the best for you even if that will cause me to sacrifice something on my end.

It means that I’m on your team.  I will care for you, defend you, pray for you and be here for you – always.

‘Love you’ says ‘You’re important to me’.  It says ‘ You’re valuable to me’.  It says ‘I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt when you’re wrong or grumpy or just not very lovable.’  It says “I’m going to come up with as many excuses for your behavior as I do for my own.’

Sometimes I say ‘Love you’ to people I don’t know well or don’t know at all.  This ‘Love you’ says ‘I recognize you as a good person and I’m glad we’re sharing this place or this moment together. ‘ ‘

I have discovered that this over-all ‘Love you’ culture is much more powerful than it sounds.  It’s not just words.  It’s not superficial when we also act like we ‘love you’ to the people around us.  When the people around me – whether I know them or not – are important to me, the air changes around us.  The mood is different.  I can feel the acceptance and caring – not just of me but for each other.  God blesses this love with a supernatural goodness because this is what he wants – he wants us to love him and love each other.

A note to my Blue Family – loving each other and saying it regularly puts a band of steel under the Thin Blue Line.  Love adds a strength to our relationships that you will not understand until you try it.  Our Blue family needs this strength to deal with our reality.

Love is the legacy that Davey left with us.  He knew how essential love is for all of us and he made sure we told each other – regularly – at least every time we left each other.

I’m amazed at how much making ‘Love you’ a habit has changed my world.  And I know this habit has changed many of us who knew Davey.

If you haven’t gotten on the ‘Love you’ train yet, this is your invitation to jump on.  It’s a train filled with people who care about other people, whether they know them or not.  These people have felt the magic these two words have when shared openly and regularly.  Let love change your world.

“Love you” are the last words Davey said to those of us who knew him.  These words and the love attached to them echo in our minds and hearts whenever we think of him.  What a special gift.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

 

The Most Difficult Time of the Year

Each day, as we get closer to Christmas, the hole in my heart grows a little bigger,

and a little darker.  The pain becomes a little stronger.

It becomes increasingly harder not to focus on what I have lost.

What my family has lost.

David Glasser, my son, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty May 18, 2016.  My journey since then has been a constant struggle.  And this struggle intensifies during the holidays when happy memories haunt my days.  Davey is 7 in this picture and our daughter, Katie, is 3.  They were both so excited about Christmas!

Sometimes I just wish the holidays were over.

I know many of you share my feelings.  Since I’ve had this very public and tragic loss in my life, more people have been telling me about their own heartbreaks and the losses they have experienced.  And others haven’t talked about it but I can see the private pain in your eyes when we talk about my heartbreak.

We both know the struggle, we share the struggle – especially at Christmas.

So I force my attention away from my loss and focus on all the blessings God is giving me right now –  my four granddarlings are at the top of that list.  They are so precious and they distract me from thinking about who is NOT here.

One of the several life-changing lessons I have learned from this tragedy is just how short our lives can be and how quickly someone can be gone.  The painful grief I feel reminds me that I need to make the most of the time I have now with the people that are still here.  This is not the time to get stuck in yesterday.  I have new memories to make because there is no guarantee that we’ll have tomorrow together here on earth.

My heartache also reminds me that you and I shouldn’t ignore the difficult days that so many people around us are experiencing this time of year.  I read that this week of Christmas has the highest rate of suicide across our nation.

That is so wrong.

So I pray for those of us who are feeling additional pain and loss during this tough season.  And I am trying to be extra patient and kind to people in my world this week – on the freeway, at the store, in the parking lots.  Many of them are struggling and I don’t want to add to the difficulties they have in their lives.

Can each of us think of a way we can reach out helping hands to others who are not enjoying ‘the most wonderful time of the year’?

And please join me in praying for a little more peace on earth during this holiday season.  We need it.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

Irreplaceable

I can’t believe it!

My wedding ring had a loose stone so a major jewelry store sent it in to be fixed.

And my ring disappeared.

Somewhere between the jewelry store and the shop that fixes jewelry, my ring along with a whole box of other people’s jewelry was stolen.  Gone!

For almost 40 years, my husband I have had an ‘every 5 years’ anniversary tradition of changing or adding something to my ring.  This made my ring very unique with a lot of sentimental memories attached to it.  Four years ago we added blue sapphires to my ring after our son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.  It’s the only piece of jewelry I usually wear other than Davey’s memorial bracelet.

This ring was precious to me so I never took it off.  I didn’t want to lose it.

Now the jewelry store lost it.  Unbelievable!

Of course I cried.  So much has been lost and now I’m adding my ring to that list.  The jewelry store is doing their best to replace it with something comparable.  But it’s irreplaceable.

Well, on second thought, my perspective has really changed on what is irreplaceable.  There is a new standard in my mind that I measure  everything here on earth by to determine whether it’s irreplaceable.  And my ring actually ends up really low on that list.

Because, at the top of the irreplaceable list is my son, Davey.  In an instant, he was gone.  He went to work one day and never came back.  And he is truly irreplaceable.  He defines irreplaceable.  He was such a huge personality and special.  Nothing and no one can fill the hole he left on this earth.

When I think about it, it’s people in my life who are irreplaceable.  None of the ‘stuff’ in life means much when it’s stacked up against the people that mean the most to me.

One of the things I value about my relationship with God is that he has promised that nothing could make him stop loving me.  NothingEver.  I don’t have to be concerned about ever losing my relationship with him.  My life is built on the Solid Rock.  I might lose everything else, but not God.

Having this new standard of irreplaceable has helped me focus on the most precious things in my life – my relationship with God and with people.  It has helped me put ‘stuff’ and possessions in the right place on my list of what is important – at the bottom.  It has helped me be okay with losing my ring.  It was just a thing.  It is replaceable.

Because I now clearly understand what is truly irreplaceable.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

My Quadruple Whammy

This will be my fifth Christmas without my son, David Glasser.

He was a Phoenix Police Officer killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.

Many people told me the first Christmas after Davey’s death was going to be the worst.  And it was bad.  So I was hoping that what people told me was true and the coming years would be better.  It surprised me a little when the second Christmas was just as tough if not a even more painful as the permanence of the situation started to become a reality.  The permanence of the pain became increasingly real during the 3rd and the 4th years of experiencing the hole where Davey should have been.

This will my fifth Christmas without Davey – and it’s happening again.  It’s my Quadruple Whammy.

One punch, two punches, three punches and then – the final punch.

The first punch is Davey’s son, Micah’s birthday in the beginning of November.  I still don’t want to believe that Davey will never be at any of Micah’s birthdays, graduations, wedding, or hold his grandchildren.  We have all lost so much.

Next comes Davey’s birthday a couple of weeks after Micah’s.  Great memories laced with the pain.  He should have had 60 more birthdays.  We have been robbed.

The third punch is Thanksgiving.  There are times when I struggle to say, “Happy Thanksgiving” to people.  For me, it’s compounded by the fact that my father died on Thanksgiving 42 years ago.  I ride an emotional roller coaster up and down during November.

And then the final whammy – Christmas.  So many great Christmas’ with Davey!  He was a light in my life and now it’s hard to ignore the darkness.  So I focus on how grateful I am for the birth of God’s son, Jesus, my Savior.  Jesus is the light of the world and the hope he gives me lights up the dark places in my life.

I’ll just say this right out loud for me and for people like me – I’ll be glad when New Years Eve is over and another holiday season is past.  I feel pretty beat up by the time January rolls around.

People like me are called Survivors.  I’ve spent almost 5 years so far learning just how much surviving goes into this.  Every year, we have to ‘survive’ the holidays and birthdays and other special days.  We never know when something is going to reach out of a perfectly normal celebration and punch us in the gut.  It comes out of nowhere and spins us into the dark hole of pain we had hoped we left behind.

You have heard this from me before and you are hearing it again because it’s still true.  I have discovered that the best way for me to survive and deal with the whammies is to focus on all the good I had in my life before Davey was killed and all the good I still have.  When I focus on all I have lost, the pain intensifies.

I have also decided to get as close to God as I can and he comforts me each time my heart breaks a little more.

Because my quadruple whammy is not going away.  It happens every year.

Miss you, Davey.  Love you.

#8144loveyou