Too Many

Take a look at this picture of the flower memorial we made at the National Peace Officers Memorial in Washington, DC on May 15th, 2017.  We were there honoring and remembering my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.

During the memorial in Washington, DC, each family came up – one by one – and put a red flower into the memorial in remembrance of the police officer they lost in the line of duty in 2016.

Do you see what I see?

There are too many red flowers.   Way too many.  They don’t even fit in the middle of the flower memorial where they are supposed to be.

Too many police officers lost.

Too many families’ lives blown apart.

Too many friends and squad members’ hearts broken.

You and I know that this situation has gotten a lot worse since 2016.  The numbers just keep going up.  Someone is going to have to redesign this flower memorial for Police Week in October this year.  There will be more red flowers than ever.   

What can be done? Our culture has shifted away from respect for law enforcement and shifting it back seems like such a monumental task. In an overwhelming situation like this, I like to apply the saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. “. I am a doer and achiever and this situation would be extremely frustrating for me except for one thing.

We’re doing something about it.

The year after Davey died, his wife and several of his friends were feeling this same frustration.  What can we do make a difference in this situation?  How can we help shift our culture back to having respect for police officers?

The David Glasser Foundation was created with the purpose of creating opportunities for Police Officers to have positive interactions with the people in the communities they serve.  99.99% of Police Officers are great people who care deeply about the people they serve.  When they get a chance to show how much they care in situations where they aren’t arresting people or giving people tickets, perceptions change.  The truth becomes evident.  

And the easiest people to influence are kids because they see through the lies and their experience is their reality.  So the David Glasser Foundation is focusing on sponsoring programs that provide positive interactions between kids and their families and Police Officers.

We’ve chosen kids sports as the vehicle for these interactions because Davey played several sports himself and was a huge sports fan.  Davey learned great things through sports –  like being a team player, responsibility, leadership, and perseverance. 

In the programs which the David Glasser Foundation sponsors, kids learn these great character qualities along with how to play the sport and they get many positive experiences with Police Officers.  It’s a win-win-win.

It feels right to do this as part of Davey’s legacy.  It feels right to be an active part of the movement to push back the disrespect and dishonor towards Police Officers.

Many people have already figured out their own part of helping to shift this perception and they are doing it.  Great job!  If you’re still wondering what you can to do help make a difference, you are welcome to join us at the David Glasser Foundation by donating either on our page on Facebook or at our website. 

Together, we can eat this elephant, one bite at a time.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

My Heart Breaks Again

It hurts.

It feels right.

It’s such a difficult thing to do.

It’s the perfect thing to do.

These are some of my conflicting emotions in the middle of the memorials we attend for our son, David Glasser who was a Phoenix Police Officer killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  A couple of weeks ago my husband and I watched the Phoenix Police Department’s Virtual Memorial and this same strange mixture of feelings swirled around in my head. 

Then we visited the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC last weekend.  It felt so right to be there, remembering and honoring Davey.  But I found the feelings of loss overwhelming as I sat there with the names of fallen officers surrounding me on every side.  Too many names.

My family is a part of a large group of surviving families.  It’s a tough crowd and we’ve got the scars to prove it.  There is grief right behind the smiles.  There is pain right behind the love.  Tears fill my eyes as I hear the names and see the pictures of the officers who have been added to the list of Phoenix’s fallen officers since Davey was killed.  My heart breaks again when I think of these new families who are going through the same nightmare we are.

Memorials are good –

and it’s hard.

As survivors, we share the grief and the pain of our losses which helps…..but it also brings it all back.

When Davey was killed, my family lost someone who was very special to us.  The rest of you lost one of the good guys – and we don’t have enough good guys to lose.  The darkness in our world starts winning when we lose the brave people who are pushing back.

One of the ways we can all push back the darkness is finding ways to honor and remember our fallen officers.   Many of you have Davey’s memorial decal on your car.  I love seeing them.  Thank you!  If you would like to put one on your car, they are available at the David Glasser Foundation website.

We can also join together to show our appreciation for the officers who are still working so hard on our streets and sacrificing to help keep our streets safe.

Having memorials is the right thing to do…..

for me as a survivor, it can also be a tough thing to do.  Remembering all I have lost makes my heart break again.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

The Waves

I’m sitting in Washington, DC. The Law Enforcement Officers Memorial surrounds me – name after name after name after name.

Including my son’s name – David Glasser. He was a Phoenix Police Officer killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.

I feel waves of grief rolling over these walls. The names represent sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends and coworkers. Heroes who died serving the people in their communities. So many lives lost. So many other lives blown apart.

The waves of grief wash over me, reminding me of Davey’s funeral. More than 5 thousand people mourned his loss with me that day. I will never forget the feeling of the huge crowd of people sitting behind me and beside me – grieving. I could feel the waves of sorrow and pain pulsing through the huge crowd – I’ve never felt anything like that before or since.

Grief fills my broken heart again today.

But I love the memorial. It remembers and honors each fallen officer individually while representing the dedication and perseverance of all Law Enforcement Officers who have served and are still serving today. Such courage, integrity and selflessness. The best of the best.

It’s not how these Officers died that made them heroes. It is how they lived.

Being a part of the Thin Blue Line is an extremely tough thing to do – especially in today’s culture. It’s not for the weak and the whiners. Only the bold and determined with huge hearts need apply.

And get ready for the scars. The loss.

The reality.

The horrible reality of what it means be a member of the Thin Blue Line smacks me in the face as I walk by the walls here in Washington, DC., reading the names and praying for their family and friends. New walls have been added to the memorial since my last visit. The blank walls are ominous predictors of the tragedies to come. Tragedies like mine.

I believe God has a special place in heaven for these heroes who gave their lives to push back evil for people they didn’t even know.

Davey is in that special place. I know that God decided before he was born that Davey would leave the struggle of this life early to receive his reward.

It’s just so hard being left behind with my shattered heart. Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

Bittersweet

I would like to write a nice, ‘feel good’ blog for Mother’s Day.  But it isn’t happening.

What’s happening is a rollercoaster of bittersweet emotions on this Mother’s Day.  Some of the issue for me is the fact that my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed on May 18, 2016 – right after Mother’s Day.   So the horror of that day has overshadowed my Mother’s Day ever since.  The permanent, painful changes in my life emphasize the hole in my heart – especially on this day.

The last Mother’s Day I had with Davey was just 10 days before he was shot and killed.  I was told later that he had the opportunity for some off-duty work that day but he turned it down, saying he wanted to spend the day with the ‘mothers’ in his life.  That doesn’t surprise me – that’s who he was.  He had his priorities straight.

Davey also knew I was alone that day because my husband had taken an emergency flight to Pennsylvania.  My husband’s father had just died.  Yes, my father-in-law passed away two weeks before our son was killed.  Have you ever felt the crushing impact of multiple bombs going off in your life?

When I remember that Mother’s Day, all I can think about is sitting outside at lunch with Davey.  I remember what it felt like to hang out with him – to laugh and have fun.  I remember how different my world felt with him in it.

My Mother’s Day will never be the same.  There is an important person missing.

But then I remember how thankful I am to have my daughter and four gorgeous grand darlings –  each one of them is such a blessing in my life!  When I focus on them, Mother’s Day starts to sparkle again.  All the possibilities!  All the new memories to make!  Watching my grand darlings grow into their own personalities and strengths is awesome.  Watching Davey’s children mature has the added joy of seeing glimpses of him as they exhibit traits they inherited from their dad.

If you have experienced the loss of a child, you know the rollercoaster that I’m describing.  Dark days and then the light shines through.  Things going smooth….until they don’t.  Several days without tears and then a day when it’s hard to stop the waterfall.

Mother’s day – it’s bitter sweet when you have lost a child.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

Love You

One of the bright lights in my world went out on May 18, 2016.  That’s the horrible day when my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was shot and killed in the line of duty.

He was a bright light in your world, too, even if you never met him.

I may confuse you with End of Watch dates.  His official date is May 19th but those of us who were with him in the hospital know that he left us on May 18th.  Feel free to use whichever date works for you.

I’m grateful for the medicine and machines that preserved his body on May 18th so that we had some time to say goodbye.  They also made it possible for Davey to fulfill his final wish – he was able to donate multiple organs saving the lives of several more people even after his own death.

Because that’s what heroes do.

He was one of the good guys.  He cared about our community and he committed his life to defending all that is good and right in our world.  He was proud to be part of the thin blue line that stands between the evil ones and the innocent in our country.  He lived a life of integrity and honor while blending in fun and loving life in a unique way that only Davey could do.

His heart was big and open.  Some of you know that because he added you to his group of friends during your first conversation with him. Others of us have known about his big heart for a long time because he loved us well his entire life.

Davey leaves a legacy of love.

He loved God.  He loved his wife and two small children.  He loved his immediate and extended family.   He loved his Blue Family.  He loved his friends.

He loved sports – all of them.  He was obsessed with the Cardinals and in love with the Diamondbacks as well as all ASU sports.

At Davey’s funeral, his best friend on his squad, James Byrd shared the fact that Davey said ‘Love You’ to his squad members every time he left them.  That surprised me. As his mom, I heard Davey telling us that he loved us all the time.  But I didn’t know he had extended this habit to work.

Davey not only told his squad members he loved them several times a day – he also insisted that the squad members say ‘Love you’ back to him.  AND he insisted that they say ‘Love you’ to each other before they left.

Davey knew.

He knew how close they all were to never seeing each other again.  He knew how quickly something could happen and he didn’t want anyone to ever question that he loved them.  He knew it was very important so he badgered his squad members to get into the habit as well.

Now we are all very happy that he did. I am very happy he did.

‘Love you’ has lifted me up out of a place of deep, dark grief many times these last almost 5 years.

‘Love you’ has challenged me to grow even more genuine in my relationships.  I care more deeply and understand to a deep level in my soul how short my time is here on earth.

‘Love you’ reminds me that I’m still here for a purpose – my watch hasn’t ended yet.  There is work to be done.  Relationships to be built.  People to love.

“Love you’ has helped me survive the worst.  My Father God has used these two words and all of the things that go with them to give me more faith and more strength and more courage than I had before.

And now I continue to figure out how to move forward, living out Davey’s legacy of love.

He would have wanted it that way.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.