It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done. Figuring out how to deal with the extreme grief and loss I felt after my son, David Glasser, was killed has been a brutal journey. He was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.
My life blew up…. and then crumbled. Everyone closest to me spiraled off into their own pits of grief and pain as their worlds turned upside down without Davey. My husband had multiple bombs going off in his life – his father passed away 11 days before Davey was killed. Davey was his best friend….and now he was gone, too.
After the initial dust of the explosion settled, I realized I didn’t know much about extreme grief. My mother and father had passed away along with my older brother. My mother was the youngest child of 16 kids in her family so there was a regular progression of grandparents and aunts and uncles funerals as I grew up.
None of that felt anything like Davey’s death. A child at any age dying before their parents is devastatingly different.
The experts tells us there are many stages of grief and I experienced all of them. I have met people who have gotten stuck in some of the negative stages of grief like bitterness and anger. My goal was not to get stuck. I wanted to deal with my grief in a healthy manner that was going to help me move forward.
God had a huge part in helping me work through the negative stages of my grief. He was my Rock and he gave me strength to ‘be there’ for others in my life when I had no strength of my own. He has walked closely with me down this very dark path of losing a child.
Other than the Bible, there were a couple of books I found very helpful. One of them was Option B by Sheryl Sandberg. She was planning to share the rest of her life with her husband, growing old together as they watched their grandchildren learn how to walk and ride a bicycle and drive a car. This was Option A.
Then her husband suddenly died while exercising, leaving her behind to do everything by herself. This was Option B.
Sheryl didn’t want Option B. But that was her only choice.
Wow! I could relate to that! I was supposed to grow old watching Davey retire from the Police Department and follow his dream of teaching in a high school and coaching basketball. I’m sure he would have coached both of his kids in a variety of sports. I was supposed to watch him walk his daughter down the aisle and play with his grandchildren. I could go on and on. Option A was fantastic!
I don’t want Option B – life without Davey. But I have no choice. The evil in our broken world catapulted me into Option B.
One of the main ideas that stuck out to me in Sheryl’s book was that we can build our resilience. Resilience is our ability to withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties. It’s how tough we are. We can develop processes that improve our response to problems and help us bounce back more quickly.
Yes. I was extremely interested because I knew Davey’s death may be the largest tsunami to hit my life, but it wasn’t going to be the last tough situation I was going to have to deal with. I didn’t want grief issues piling on top of health issues piling on top of relationship issues until I got ‘stuck’ in negativity. And we know, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ something bad is going to happen to us, it’s a matter of ‘when’.
I am also a process-oriented person so – Yes! Give me a process!
I didn’t get a process that was going to work for me from reading the book, so I started praying about it and God gave me one. He reminded me of the things I know to be true about him. He reminded me of his promises to me and that he always keeps his promises.
So I gradually developed my own process of filtering everything that happens to me through these truths –
God is in control – of everything.
God is good, all the time.
God loves me with a perfect love.
Nothing is impossible for God.
He has promised that he is working everything out for my good and he always keeps his promises.
These truths keep me grounded and in line with God when my painful circumstances try to make my emotions go up and down and around on a roller coaster. I have given all my ‘why’s’ to God – he’s in control. I don’t understand everything and I don’t like what has happened to me but I’m going to trust God with all of it.
He is God…and I am not.
This process has been invaluable to me as I go down this very dark and long road of living here on earth without Davey. Everything that happens to me gets filtered through what I know to be true about God and I rest in His goodness.
My response to bad things happening to me was just tested again – remember I said, it’s not a matter of ‘if’, it’s a matter of ‘when’.
Last June 30th, my husband was taken to the emergency room by an ambulance. It was a life threatening situation. In the emergency room, they called a ‘code’ and the available hospital personnel came running to help. They saved his life that day.
Many people talked to me about how ‘scarey’ that must have been. I realized my process of growing my resilience had really worked because I was not scared, I was not worried.
God was in control. He is good, all the time. He loves me and he loves my husband with a perfect love. Nothing is impossible for him. He is always working things out for my good.
I also believe what God says in Job 14:5 that he has numbered our days before we were born. Our final day on earth is already decided. So the doctors could not have saved my husband if it had been ‘his day’. Obviously, if he had died, I would have been upset. But he was still alive by the time I got to the emergency room so there was no reason for me to be upset or scared. The fact that I was calm and confident that God was in control enabled me help my husband have a positive attitude as he went through a long and painful week of procedures and surgeries followed by 6 more months of rehabilitation and procedures.
It works. You are welcome to adopt and adapt my resilience process if you like.
Because the question is not ‘if’, the question is ‘when’.
Miss you, Davey.
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