Not the Right Answer

I’ll admit it – it’s been over 5 years and I’m still having trouble asking God for safety.

Some days, when I hear people around me include in their prayers a request that God keep certain people safe, a cynical voice in my head says, “Yeah, good luck with that.”

I have prayed regularly for the safety of my children since the day they were born.  I doubled my prayers for safety when my son, David Glasser, became a Phoenix Police Officer. Then, on May 18, 2016, Davey was killed in the line of duty. God did not keep him safe.  So what was the purpose of all of those prayers?

I am totally convinced that God is good. I know that he loves me and has the best plans for me. I realize that God’s perspective is completely different from mine and he is always right.

My head knows that God listens to my prayers and responds.  He often changes my attitude while I am praying.  He gives me insights and answers.  He also gives me comfort and peace.

My head knows that this world is not a safe place.  I am not safe here.  You are not safe here.  Davey was not safe here.

My head understands that God protected Davey here on earth for 34 1/2 years.  I will never know all of the illnesses, incidents and accidents where God kept Davey safe during his years on earth.  I had heard about several very close calls Davey had on the job before he was killed.  God protected him then.

My head knows that now God has taken Davey home where he is truly safe.  It could be said that God answered my prayers.

But my heart doesn’t like that answer.  It’s not the answer I wanted.  It’s the most painful and heart-shattering answer I’ve ever gotten.

I’m sure I will understand it after I get to my ‘forever home’.

Until then,

I continue to struggle with asking God for safety.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

After

My life has an ‘after’.

My world blew up when my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.   Many of my expectations and dreams for what my future was going to be were snatched away.   Now there is a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ – a major dividing line in my life.

I talked about ‘before’ in my last blog.   I think it is ironic that thinking about ‘before’ is not without its struggles because it reminds me of all that is lost.  There used to be a light in my life that is has dimmed and a wholeness in my life that is now gone.

‘After’ is clearly the loser in the comparison of the two halves of my life.  I never expected to feel this level of grief or pain.  My father, mother and oldest brother have all passed away but I didn’t know until now that experiencing the death of a child could feel this horrible.

‘After’ is an extremely tough place to be.  Everything seems to be ‘less’ than what it was ‘before’.  I have good times….until I’m reminded about all that is missing.

Right after Davey was killed, it felt like l was dropped into the middle of a deep dark jungle – extremely harsh, lots of traps, sometimes struggling just to take my next step, and not really wanting to move forward because Davey wasn’t going to be there.  The shock was so great and the grief was so heavy that it was a challenge to get up and face the mountain of pain that each day brought.

I am so grateful that God has been there to walk beside me each step, taking me through the jungle and helping me to start seeing the light again.  I have learned many life-changing lessons on this journey so far.  Here are a few:

  • Love really does change things.  Davey said “love you’ to everyone he cared about instead of ‘good-bye” and all of us who loved him were blessed by this when he was suddenly gone.   So we all started following his role-model and it changed this very tough road we’re on.  Loving each other and saying it out loud helped us in ways that are hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it.  “Love you” was Davey’s final gift to us all.
  • I have an entirely different view now of the courage it takes to be a Police Officer. They face unbelievable things every day and they do it because they care. That kind of caring runs deep within the hearts of Police Officers, making them go out each day to face the worst our city and our neighborhoods have to offer. And so many people don’t even appreciate it.
  • Obviously, I have taken a very personal journey into the sacrifice that Police Officers make for the people in their communities.  They regularly sacrifice other things in their lives in order to do their jobs well and be part of what’s going right in our city.  Some officers, like my son, sacrifice everything – that’s the risk they all take each day as they step out of their front door to do their job.
  • I also have a new understanding of how important honor is in the life of a Police Officer.  There is honor in always taking the high road – being the voice of reason and caring – when they are out on the streets of our city, working to keep all of us safe.  There is honor in the traditions and ceremonies that happen in the lives of our Police Officers.  There is honor in remembering our fallen heroes.

Love, courage, sacrifice and honor are woven together into the souls of Police Officers, making them able to stand for what is right even when they are face-to-face with evil.  They are special.  They are ‘the good guys’.

And I’m proud that Davey is one of them.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

Before

My life has a ‘before’.

Before my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016, my world was a different place.

It was a place where my family was whole.  When I think back to ‘before’, there is a special light that shows up in my memories and that light has now disappeared.

My husband and I lived 1 1/2 miles from Davey and his family the last 6 years of his life so I could expect to see him or at least talk with him almost every day.  He would regularly drop by unannounced for something – anything.  He loved people so he was always in search of people to talk to, people to hang out with.  Most of the time Davey had his son, Micah, with him when he dropped by and he wanted his dad to come along wherever they were going – Home Depot, Best Buy, where ever.  His then five year-old son, Micah, called Best Buy ‘daddy’s store’ so that gives you an idea of how often they went there.

Davey was a planner – always thinking about the next good time, the next tailgate, the next trip, the next get together. There was a feeling of excitement and anticipation when he was around because there were good times coming. He fell in love with tailgating at the Cardinals games when he was young and beer pong was his game of choice until it was outlawed.

He was open and friendly, gathering friends wherever he went.

I miss Davey’s light in my life.

My struggle with the darkness, grief and pain this last 5 years has been tough.  There are times when I feel the gloom hanging over me, my longing for ‘before’ crowding out any joy of today.

It’s been a battle.  God has given me strength and has increased my faith through these awful days.  He has placed a lot of people around me who love me and have brought their own special light into my life.

I have started to see some of the lessons God is teaching me through this terrible journey.

One of my big lessons is about gratitude.

I. am. so. grateful. for. the. 34. years. we. had. Davey.

Words cannot express how grateful I am.  I have realized, when I focus on my gratitude for how awesome Davey was and all the great times we spent together, some of Davey’s light seeps back into my life.  Memories become warm and good instead of painful.  When I am grateful for the time we had with Davey, my world seems less empty and much less sad.

God gave us a precious gift for 34 years.

And I am extremely grateful.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

Hidden Landmines

“Do you have any children?”

It’s a natural, ‘getting to know you’ question asked pretty early on in our first conversations with people. My husband and I moved out of Arizona to the Denver area at the beginning of the pandemic so we have a lot of these ‘meeting new people’ conversations.

I used to be the first person to ask the children question when talking to someone I was just getting to know because I loved to talk about my kids. Now I wait to see if the other person is going to bring it up.

This topic is like stepping on a landmine when I meet people who don’t know about the tragedy that blew my life apart 5 years ago when my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.

Yes, I want people to know me and I want them to know about Davey and his life.  It’s just a tough thing to bring up in the middle of a conversation with someone I barely know.  Depending on the emotions rolling through my heart that day, talking about Davey can start the tears rolling down my face.  That’s a real conversation stopper.

So I usually start talking about my daughter and how we are so blessed to live close to her and her family. Depending on how the conversation is going, I make decisions on how much I’m going to share about Davey.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to talk about Davey and all the great things about him.  But sometimes on some days, there are very strong emotions tied to this subject.   When emotions make the situation feel awkward, I start talking about my beautiful grand darlings – two grandsons and two grand daughters.  They always help me smile.

This experience has taught me a couple of things about ‘getting to know you conversations’.  They are not as superficial as they seem.  Most people have various bruised and tender spots in their lives that can be difficult to talk about.  We can’t avoid the landmines because they are often a central part of our lives that need to be included in who we are.  So we share the hurt and we share the emotion and we share the awkwardness.

And – in the end – we know each other a little better.

That’s a good thing.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

It’s Permanent

There is a cost.

There is a commitment.

Love leaves a mark.

The cost is being more concerned about another person than you are about yourself.  What I want is not the most important thing when I love someone.

Commitment means loving this person even when they are unlovable.  Sometimes it means offering help and other times it means drawing helpful boundaries.

Loving someone well takes a lot of energy and patience, wisdom and understanding.  Loving people well is a lot of work.  And it leaves a mark.

I have discovered that this mark doesn’t go away after someone we love dies.  This mark is permanent and never leaves us.

David Glasser, my son, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  The mark he left on us was an unusual kind of love.  It was an outspoken love – a love that broke down some of the walls that we have built as adults.  He said ‘love you’ often and you knew he meant it by how he included you and had fun with you and was loyal to you.  You knew there was a commitment being made when he said ‘love you”,

It wasn’t just something he said.

The mark Davey has left on us is big.  We have discovered how large of an impact he made on our lives as we continue to love one another with an outspoken love like he taught us.   Saying it and showing it.

The cost of loving people out loud is giving up some of our ‘separateness’ and privacy. The cost is taking our eyes off of ourselves long enough to see someone else that needs a hug or a hand.  The cost is letting others love us, knowing that this love will leave a mark.  It will change us.

The commitment is not giving up even when its tough or strange or even a little weird.  Yes, weird.  If you’ve been really trying to love others, you know what I mean.  The commitment is setting love as a priority and letting go of other things that we always used to think were important.

If I were to draw a picture of the mark Davey has left on us, it would not be a heart.  It would be a magic wand.  Because I have discovered since Davey’s death that loving people out loud has magical qualities which cannot be explained.

Love changes things.  It has a supernatural power that comes straight from God.  Love brings light into the darkness.  Love soothes pain and sadness and loneliness.

Love really can change the world.

Thank you for the permanent mark of love you have left on our lives, Davey.

Miss you.