When. Not If.

The question is not ‘if’ something bad is going to happen to us.  The right question is ‘when’.  Because something bad is going to happen sometime in our future.

Failure, separation, broken relationships.

Disease, accidents, illness, pain, death.

It’s going to happen.  And most of the time it will happen when we least expect it.

A very close friend of mine received a huge shock several years ago when her beautiful daughter-in-law didn’t wake up one morning.  33 years-old.  And she didn’t wake up.

She was fine the day before.

She leaves behind a husband, a young son, and a large number of family and friends who never expected something like this to happen.

Many times there is no warning.  I was on my normal commute home from work when I got the call that my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, had been shot in the line of duty.  He died that day.

It’s not ‘if’, the question is ‘when’.

So do we live our lives with a cloud of worry and fear over our heads just waiting for the next ax to fall?  Or do we ignore the inevitable and deal with it when it happens?

Neither of those sound like a good option to me.  The tragedy that blew my life apart is not going to cause me to spend the rest of my life focused on dreading the next bad thing.  But I’m also not going to pretend that there are no more hard times coming.

I have chosen to try to find a balance somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.  I am working on growing my faith – getting closer to God.  God has been my anchor through this painful storm.   I am also trying to grow my resilience in the face of adversity – defining and strengthening the process I use when bad things happen.  Because they are going to happen.

I tend to lean more in the positive direction than the negative – life is more good than bad.  I like to focus on good things – they make the struggle all worth it.

And I have learned a lot about love these last 4 1/2 years.  When we show love to those around us – even when we don’t know them – it really does matter.  Each expression of love, every hand that reaches out, any show of kindness and love – it all matters.  Davey taking time out of his schedule packed with family and career to fly across the country to celebrate his step-grandfather’s 90th birthday and putting his arm around Merle for a picture matters – especially when 90 was the last birthday his step-grandfather celebrated.

It’s all worth the effort.  When we love each other, we’re on the right track.

Because it’s not a question of ‘if’ something bad is going to happen to us.  The right question is ‘when’.

Loving each other helps when the worst happens.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

 

 

 

 

My Nightmare

It happened again recently.  While talking with someone I just met, the subject came up and I said my son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who had been killed in the line of duty almost 5 years ago.

5 years ago.

Sometimes the pain feels like yesterday.  It’s very hard.  And saying it makes it more real.

For weeks after Davey’s death, I would wake up every morning hoping that it was all just a very bad dream.

Praying that it was all a nightmare that I could wake up from.fullsizerender-2

Every morning I would open my eyes and look around my bedroom – hoping I wouldn’t see the frame on my dresser which holds the last Mother’s Day card I’ll ever get from Davey.  The one he signed “I love you”.

Every morning I would hope I wouldn’t see his memorial picture that hangs in my kitchen.  He had such a great smile.

As I looked around, I was hoping that I wouldn’t see the folded flag in the flag box along with his Medal of Honor.

But I saw the card and the picture and the flag everyday.

Because it wasn’t just a very bad dream.

The worst happened.

The nightmare is real.

And I know the nightmare is still very real to a whole group of us who knew Davey well and loved him.  I can see it in your eyes.  Our hearts are broken.  We can’t go back to our old lives because Davey is not there.  It’s like a dimmer switch has been turned down on the light and laughter and joy in our world.

You feel it, too.

I don’t know how people can deal with tragedy like this without faith in God. I believe that Davey is in heaven with his Father God.  With my Father God.  Davey is there with my mother, father, stepfather, brother and many more of my family and friends who have gone home before him.  He recently had a reunion with his grandmother, my mother-in-law. I believe that God is in the process of bringing good out of the evil that was done.  I believe that I’ve been left behind because God has a part for me in this plan.img_2481

Davey walked into my dream a few months after he died.   In the dream, I was sitting at his kitchen table with his wife and tiny daughter – all the ‘girls’.    It felt very real and much like one of the many times we would sit around the table and talk.  Then Davey walked in and sat down.  He gave us a big smile.  He didn’t say anything.  He just smiled at all of us.

I remember my brain jumping around, realizing that this shouldn’t be happening.  Maybe everything else really was all just an extremely bad dream!!

It felt so real.  The explosion of hope in my heart was so strong that it woke me up.

And the nightmare was back.  The card and the flag and the picture were all still there.

Sometimes I just want to live in that dream.

But Davey’s big smile stays with me.  He’s happy.  He is in a place with no sadness, pain or nightmares.  The battle between good and evil that he committed his adult life to here on earth is over for him.  Where he is, the good guys have won.  Davey has won.

On the day that is already determined for me, I will see him again.  It will not be a dream, it will be my new, eternal reality.

What about you?

I know he would like to see you again, too.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

Get in the Picture

I love having pictures of memories – they help me remember the feelings I had when it was happening and it makes the memory even more precious.   Since I love having pictures, I take a lot of pictures.

I didn’t realize until after my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty that I had very few pictures of just him and I – and most of those were when he was a little kid.  I have tons and tons of pictures of Davey and his dad and, of course, I was there taking the pictures…..

but I’m not in the pictures.  Most of the pictures are of fun times and special memories.  I wish I were in them.  Those of you following this blog are seeing me post the few pictures I have with adult Davey over and over and over – because that’s all I have.

Some of you may hate getting your pictures taken and you’re wondering why not being in the picture bothers me.  Hopefully not, but consider for a second how you might feel differently about pictures with your son or daughter or grandchild whom you loved if the worse happened.  If you had to live the rest of the your days on this earth without them.  If memories are all you had left.

I can’t do anything about the past but I can change the future.  So those of you who know me know that I have become the ‘Selfie Queen’.  I am now in the picture along with everyone else.  When someone in the group says – ‘I’ll take the picture’, I say, “Nope!  Everyone’s in.” . Luckily I’m tall with long arms so I have a built-in selfie stick.  I think my record number of people in one of my selfies without a stick is 12.  When I actually have one of my selfie sticks, ( I have more than 1) I can get 30 or more people in.

I’ve made kind of a game of it.  I’ll hold up the camera and say “Get in” and everyone has to find a spot.  My family has become experts at this.  Jostling for a spot can be kind of fun so almost everyone already has a smile when it’s picture time.

And – bonus – I’m in the picture.  I’m there when next year I want to look at it and remember.  I’m there 2 years from now when I look at it and remember.  I’m there 30 years from now when I’m no longer here but others want to look at it and remember.

My suggestion to you – get in the picture.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

I’m Not Mad

Some friends of mine asked if I got mad at God when Davey was killed.  My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.

I hadn’t thought about it before but, looking back, I cannot remember a moment when I was mad at God.  I know many people have that reaction when tragedy strikes because we know that God is in total control of what happens on earth and now this really bad thing happened to us.

That was not my response.

After thinking about it, I figured out that I didn’t get mad at God because I learned the truth more than 25 years ago that God is not Santa Claus.  He doesn’t exist to grant all of my wishes.

God is not here to do what I want him to do.  I am here to do what God wants me to do.

That’s a very important difference.

God is perfect, he is all-knowing and all-powerful.  He is the Uncreated One – eternal.  It’s all about him, not about me.

I also know that God is good, all the time.  He loves me, he wants the best for me and he is working all things out for my good.  My current circumstances don’t change these facts.

We spent the night Davey was shot in the hospital praying for a miracle.  In the midst of praying and asking everyone I saw to pray for a miracle, I was thinking about the great story we would get to tell when Davey miraculously got better.  As the night progressed, more tests were done and it became painfully obvious that Davey had already left us.  There was no miracle for us that night.

I remember thinking in the midst of my black swirling cloud of grief, “Well, that’s not the story God is writing right now.  There is something else going on.  God’s doing something different.”

Faith is about trusting in God even when we don’t understand.  Faith is about trusting in God even when we’re struggling with too much pain, too much loss, too much sorrow.  Faith is about trusting God even when tomorrow looks dark and it’s not a place we want to go.

The fact is that I’m still here because God has things he wants me to do.  That gives me purpose and helps me focus my eyes above instead of what’s behind me.

I’m not mad.   I’m grateful to God for his love and guidance through this worst time in my life.  I’m grateful for all the blessings I have in my life right now.  I’m grateful for all of the kindness and grace and love so many people have shown me and my family in these last 4 1/2 years.

And I’m extremely grateful for the 34 1/2 years on earth that I got to spend with Davey.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

It’s Really May 18th

May 18 – the real date when my son left this earth.

My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  His official End of Watch is May 19th, but he died on the 18th.  You would know that as well if you had seen him.  His body was hooked up to all kinds of machines that were keeping his lungs moving and his heart beating but Davey – the fun, smart, wonderful son, husband, dad, brother and friend  – was gone.  He was already with his Father God.

I am thankful to modern medicine which gave us time to start coming to terms to our new reality.  We had several hours with him in the hospital to figure out how to start to say good-bye.  It helped.

I am thankful that the machines were able to keep his organs alive so that he could fulfill his wish of being an organ donor – giving the gift of life to so many other people.  Our families have been blessed by other organ donors so we know what an important thing this is.  Knowing that helped.

I am thankful for the doctors and nurses who treated Davey with care and respect.  They also were very helpful and understanding to those of us who spent the darkest hours of that night in room next to Davey in unbelief of what was happening.  It helped.

I am thankful for the rooms full of police officers and friends at the hospital who prayed for us and supported us through those awful hours.  It helped.

daves-squadI am thankful for the family and friends all over the country who prayed for us through that night.   I am thankful for all of the people who prayed for us and didn’t even know us.   It helped.

I am thankful for Dave’s squad who, disregarding their own pain, had the worst job of making telephone calls and getting us to the hospital.   I am also  thankful for the Employee Assistance Unit led by Sgt. Dave Osborne.   Both of these teams promised support and they meant it.   It really helped.

I am thankful for the entire Phoenix Police Department who supported us that night any way they possibly us in any way they could.   They parked our cars so we could run right into the hospital, they brought food, they picked up family at the airport, they took care of the press, they drove us home, they never left their watch on Dave’s room and much more.  It all helped.

I am thankful for Pastor Mark Grochoki, one of our pastors at the time, who somehow found a way through the crowds and lines of police to pray for us in a small, dark corner of the hospital lobby.  It was an oasis of peace in a very long, terrible night.  It helped.

I am thankful for the Police Chaplain, Bob Fesmire, who is so clearly called by God to walk families like ours through the most painful hours of our lives. His words of wisdom cut through the shock and helped us move forward.  He prayed for us through the night when we had no words.  I will never forget his prayer as we said our last goodbyes to Davey before leaving the hospital.  I don’t recall the exact words but I remember God reaching out through them to wrap his arms around me to comfort me.  Bob was God with skin on that night.  He really helped.

May 19 is Dave’s official E.O.W but May 18th was his last day on earth.  Now he lives in our hearts and our memories until we see him again in heaven.

I’m not saying that we need to change the date on all the plaques and forms.

I just wanted you to understand why I always use May 18th.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.