My Only Fear

It used to be that my only fear was that something bad would happen to one of my children.

And then the worst happened on May 18, 2016 when my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.

When I was younger, I had a lot of fears – my parents dying, something bad happening to me, and more.  As I grew older, I experienced all of the things I was fearful of and God walked me through each experience so I found I wasn’t scared of it any longer.

I was left with just that one fear – something bad happening to one of my children.

Then, 6 years before Davey’s death, my daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Cancer! This was bad.

But it was caught early and it was thyroid cancer which is usually contained.  Surgery was successful and I thought my worst fear had been faced.  I was good.  Nothing else was going to happen to one of my children.

I was obviously very wrong.

Being afraid of it didn’t keep it from happening.  I have found fear to be a waste of energy and time.  Nothing good is going to come from it.  Fear messes up our minds as it messes up our attitudes.  I believe fear comes directly from Satan – he loves to keep us down, keep us worried, scared of our own shadows.

Fear is not going to keep bad things from happening.

If you read my blogs regularly, you have heard this from me before – the question is not ‘if’ something bad is going to happen to you, it’s ‘when’.

I have realized that my thinking one bad experience for my children was going to keep them from another bad experience was wrong.  There will be more – for them, for me and for other people I love.

So I must prepare for tough things to happen without being scared of them.  How do I do that?

As you can imagine, I’ve read a lot of different ideas about this through these last 5 years.  I found that the most helpful words of advice came from God through his Word.  Asking for wisdom in my reaction to the tough stuff has worked.  Wisdom such as making sure my response to the negative is positive and helpful to me and to others has worked.  Building my perseverance through growing my relationship with God has worked.  Finding purpose in the pain has worked.  You’ll find all of this advice in the first chapter of the book of James in the Bible.

So I am no longer scared.  I am prepared.

Because fear does not keep bad things from happening.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

The Moment I Knew

I remember the moment I realized that everything in my world had changed. All of the horrible things that had happened to me in the last 12 hours connected in my brain for the first time and I knew that my life as I knew it was gone – blown up – smashed.

Nothing would ever be the same.

It was the moment when I was holding my son, David Glasser’s hand in his hospital room early in the morning after he had been shot the day before in the line of duty as a Phoenix Police Officer. The doctors had just announced their final report.

Davey was officially gone. A machine was still making his lungs breath and drugs were making his heart beat so that he could fulfill his wish of being an organ donor.

But the Davey I had loved and cherished from before he was ever born was not in this ravaged body laying in this hospital bed any longer.

I wanted to crawl in a corner and never leave. I didn’t want to know what a world without without Davey felt like. I didn’t want to face the avalanche of pain and loss that had already started to come crashing down on me and my family.

I didn’t want to.

I told God I didn’t want to.

I remember feeling a torrent of tears dripping down off of my face, soaking the front of my shirt. And I didn’t care. It was all too devastating.

Then, as Police Chaplain Bob Fesmire prayed over all of us standing around Davey’s hospital bed that morning, I felt God’s strong arms of love wrap around me. My Abba Father reminded me that, even though Davey was gone, God is always with me and he was going to walk down this very dark road right beside me, all the way to the end. He reminded me that he had always been beside me during all the tough times in my life – loving me and comforting me. He promised me that he was going to do that again.

And I knew he would. He had done it before, he would do it again.

And he has. God has been my Rock and my shelter as this hurricane of pain and loss decimated my life. He has given me strength and confidence as I have watched him put my life back together – piece by piece – making a much different picture than before Davey died. God has given me hope as he reminds me I have been left behind because he has a purpose for me here.

As I remember that moment in the hospital, I am thankful for how faithful God has been in my life these last 5 years.

And I know he’ll be walking closely next to me the rest of this journey, until I see Davey again in our forever home.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

It’s a Crash Course

I’ve been taking a crash course on grief since May 18, 2016 when my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.

I thought I had quite a bit of experience with grief before this happened since my father, mother, brother and grandparents have all passed away along with all of my aunts and uncles – all 30 of them.

None of that compares with Davey’s death.

My life blew up.  I totally understand why marriages fall apart when children die because each person in the marriage is affected differently and monumentally by the tragedy.  We can’t ‘be there’ for each other as much as we need because we’re each going through our own personal nightmare.  I give God all the credit for keeping my marriage safe as we worked our way through the first tough years after Davey’s death.  Yes, years.  Not weeks, not months… years.

After Davey was killed, of course our family, friends and Davey’s friends and squad members were grieving with us.  But it took me awhile to realize that the whole city of Phoenix as well as our big Blue Family all across the country were also grieving with us.  This was much bigger than just us. 

When a young person dies, we lose their whole future.  Everything they were going to do and be is ripped away.  All of the hopes and dreams for them are gone…..in a moment.  We all lost Davey – every smile, every joke, every good time.   All gone.  We each felt it and I saw widespread fall-out from the bomb that had hit all of us – job changes, divorces and counselling sessions.

When a police officer is murdered, our whole city loses because this was one of the ‘good guys’ who are working hard to push back the crime and danger on our streets.  This was a person who was already sacrificing their time with their family and their safety to be a part of what’s right in our world.  And now their life has been permanently snatched away by evil.

And we each react differently to that loss.

I’ve learned to give people who are grieving a lot of grace.  I know from personal experience that I was saying and doing weird things, living in a dark cloud of loss for much of that first year.  

I also realized that I had to give people a lot of grace when I was lost in that initial fog of Davey’s death because people around me would say unhelpful things and exhibit strange behaviors as they struggled to try to deal with their own grief while trying to support me in mine.  They were trying – they just weren’t always good at it.

I have learned that there are many ways to effectively grieve.  Each of us has our own personality so we experience loss in our own way.  I can’t tell you how you should grieve or how long you should feel this way.  I can’t tell you that counselling is the answer for you – it’s not the answer for all of us.  There is no one-size-fits-all magic answer.  There are various ways of getting help that are good to try if you feel like you’re getting stuck in the pain.  If one doesn’t work, try another.

I was reading recently about scream therapy for people who have experienced a recent tragedy. And then I remembered I had tried it. That’s another memory that had been lost in the fog. The idea is that screaming will help you get out a bunch of emotion that you can’t express with words and crying. You have to be careful to do it in a way that your neighbors won’t call the cops. So I laid face down on the floor of my house one day and screamed for about 5 minutes. I actually felt better afterwards but I never did it again.

Somehow, someway, we all need to figure out how to move forward – because we are still here and have a purpose.

For me, the main answer has been to stay as close to God as I possibly can.  He has been my Rock as this storm rages around me.  He has been my constant counsellor, comforter and guide down this difficult road.  This is a tough journey that will not end this side of heaven because Davey is gone,

and he’s not coming back.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

He’s Not Gone

I love pictures – especially pictures of my family.

Now that we all walk around every day with good cameras on our phones, those of us who love pictures have a lot of great ones of the events and activities of our lives.

But the pictures are on our phones.

Or they are on Facebook for those of us who are into that.  Or in our clouds – where ever that is.  Ten years from now, when my grandchildren want to look back on family history, where will they look?  Scroll through everybody’s phones? Maybe we’ll have an electronic process that’s easy and convenient by then.  We don’t have anything like that now.

This has motivated me to electronically create family yearbooks and give them to my family each year. I have a copy of the books for each grandchild as well – maybe that will be their twenty-first birthday gift. I love pictures, I have a creative side and I’m pretty good on the computer so making the books for everyone has been a joy…..

until 2016.

That was the year my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer was killed in the line of duty on May 18th.  My world exploded.  The story of our family turned dark and sad and painful.

About 6 months after Davey’s death, I sat down to start our family yearbook for that year and I attempted to make the first page – a dedication page to Davey.  It took me several weeks of struggling to complete just that first page because of my grief.  I would put a box of tissues next to me, determined to get past that first page but I just couldn’t.  Sobs made my hands shake and the anguish in my broken heart would overwhelm me.  Each time I tried, I had to stop.  The emotional fall-out of trying to put together the pictures of the tragedy that happened in our lives in 2016 would follow me around like a dark cloud for several days.

So I stopped working on the 2016 family yearbook.  Whenever I thought about it in 2017, I just ignored it.  Whenever I thought about it in 2018, I would log in and attempt to start working on it, but it hurt.

Too heart wrenching.

Too many tears.

I just couldn’t deal with documenting the year we lost Davey.  I thought about skipping 2016 and going on to 2017 but that was impossible.  There was no way I could skip 2016 – our world had totally changed, we had experienced the worst and we had all moved to a different place.  A 2017 yearbook wouldn’t make any sense without a 2016 book.

So each time I sat down to work on the 2016 book, I would end up staring at the dedication page with tears rolling down my face.  Then I would quit and close my computer.  I did this every 3 to 4 months….

until 2019.

After 3 years of trying and failing, I opened up my computer to see if I could get past Davey’s dedication page in our family yearbook for 2016 and, somehow, suddenly, it felt very right to be documenting my family’s extremely tough journey through that year.  I treasured the pictures and memories of the days before May 18th.  I loved fitting the pictures on the pages – remembering special moments of Davey’s last months.

And the pictures we took after May 18th actually filled some gaps in my memory caused by the fog of grief and the swirling in my head.  They are important memories of how we struggled and loved each other through the pain.

I realized that I had turned a corner on this road of loss.  With God walking closely beside me , my memories had now become more precious than painful.  

I just finished our Family Book for 2017.  I’m couple years behind but I’m confident now that I’m going to be able to get caught up. We had a super busy year in 2017 with memorials and Police Week.  So many people and organizations did great things to remember Davey and show that they cared about us. It felt great to review it all and remember the good times. Our 2017 family book is a really big book full of special memories.  And Davey is there with us.

And I’m so very grateful that my memories have become more precious than painful.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

Yes

The answer is yes.

When I am asked if other law enforcement officers being killed in the line of duty brings it all back, the answer is always yes.  It brings back the horrible shock and loss of May 18, 2016 when my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed during a burglary attempt.

Officer Ginarro New from the Phoenix Police Department was just killed in the line of duty. Davey’s department. I know the grief and sudden loss that is happening to his family – I’ve been there.

Those of you who follow my blog know that I post this blog every time an officer is killed in the line of duty in Phoenix and now where we live in Denver. I post this because I just can’t go on with life as normal without stopping to honor and remember the sacrifice of Officer New. I can’t stop thinking of and praying for his family, friends and co-workers.  I know and love a lot of Police Officers in Phoenix and I have witnessed the wave of pain and loss that is now moving through their department. My broken heart understands the pit of grief Officer New’s family has been dropped into and the struggles yet to come.  I know they are waking up each morning hoping it was all just a horrible nightmare…….and then letting the tears flow as they realize it wasn’t.  Their world has shattered…..

and it will never be the same.

I relive these feelings every time I hear of another officer being killed and, when it’s close, it’s worse.  The invisible cloud of grief in my house with Davey’s name on it becomes more evident whenever we lose another hero.

Too many people don’t understand that each death of a Law Enforcement Officer is a tragedy for all of us.  These are the courageous people who live in a thin blue line between the innocent and evil.  Police Officers stand between you and the people who want to make your neighborhood, your city, a dangerous place to live.  They put themselves in harm’s way each day for us.

When good guys lose, we all lose.

And we have all lost another hero.  Officer New was a man dedicated to making a positive difference in our world.  A man willing to stand up against what is wrong and help make it right.

Those of us left behind will remember and honor Officer New for his commitment and sacrifice. 

The Thin Blue Line just got a little thinner.

Davey – Miss you more today.

Love you.