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.

My Nightmare

It happened again this week. While talking with someone I just met, the subject came up and I said my son, David Glasser, had been killed in the line of duty 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 bad dream.

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

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 the box with his picture and a flag and his metal of honor that stood on the counter in my kitchen.

Every morning I hoped I wouldn’t see the memorial handed out at his funeral which I posted in our living room. He had such a great smile!

Every morning I wished that this would be the day that his tall, lanky frame would come back through my front door.

But I saw the card and the flag box and the memorial and Davey never walked through my door again.

Because it wasn’t just a very bad dream.

The worst happened.

The nightmare is real.

 There’s a big gaping hole in our lives.  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.

If you knew him, feel it, too.

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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.  He’s there with my mother, father, stepfather, brother and many more of my family and friends who have gone home before him.  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 his plan.

Davey walked into my dream a couple of months after he was killed.  I was sitting at the table with my daughter-in-law and my little granddaughter.  It felt like a regular ‘time to color’ or ‘let’s eat’.  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 looked around the table at his ‘girls’ and blinked.

Maybe everything else really was all just a 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.  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 Davey would like to see you again, too.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

When the Answer is No

I asked.

I begged.

The night after my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was shot and was laying in a hospital bed attached to machines while his brain waves gradually disappeared, I felt a level of hopelessness that I had never experienced before.  The pain of the reality of what was happening continued to escalate as each hour passed through that long, dark night.

I was desperate to see God move – he needed to do something.  So I went down to the hospital chapel all by myself, I walked up to the altar and laid face down on the cold tile.   And I begged God for a miracle.

It was becoming increasingly obvious that Davey needed a big miracle. So I begged.  I have no idea how long I laid there, pleading with God.

At this same time, my husband, Dave, was walking up and down the crowded hallway outside of Davey’s hospital room, asking everyone to pray for a miracle.

There were also three waiting rooms downstairs in the hospital filled with people – many of them praying with us, asking for a miracle.

Every hospital hallway I walked down was filled with people – most of them praying with us, asking for a miracle.

I texted my closest friends and asked them to pray with us for a miracle.

In my mind, I see all of those prayers combining into a huge hand reaching up out of the roof of the hospital, stretching up to heaven, asking our God who holds life and death in his hands to reach down and touch Davey.

We asked.

We begged.

A few hours later we received our answer.

And the answer was no.

No more smiles and jokes from Davey.

No more fun and games with Davey.

No to watching my grandchildren grow up with their father’s arms around them.

No to watching Davey live out his goals and dreams.

So many no’s.

There’s a reason why we all listened to Hilary Scott sing “Thy Will” at Davey’s funeral.  Because we asked for a miracle for Davey and God said no.  He has a different plan than we do.

Every day I am reminded that God has a very different plan than mine.  Standing on the rock of God’s love and trusting that he has many great tomorrows waiting for me, I move forward……

– not knowing where this is going.

– not happy about having to live the rest of my life here on earth without Davey.

– not understanding why I have to travel this path.

I move forward, taking my broken heart with me.  I listen and watch as God reveals his plan, one step at a time.

And one of those steps forward has been the David Glasser Foundation which is all about supporting non-policing opportunities for our Law Enforcement officer volunteers to show how much they care about kids and their families.  People – and especially the next generation –  need to understand that Police Officers are the good guys, here to help and sincerely caring that families have safe neighborhoods to live in.  The foundation with Davey’s name on it has become part of the solution to improve the health of our communities. 

Is this our miracle?

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

Standing Tall

He noticed it.

He talked about it.

He took pictures of it all the time.

David Glasser, my son, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty May 18, 2016.  He lived in Goodyear which is on the far west side of Phoenix so he was often on the I-10 driving east  – going to work, to the Cardinal’s games, to ASU games, to Diamondback games, shopping, seeing friends – lots of reasons to get on the freeway going east.

And every time – without fail – Davey would make sure to notice the gigantic American flag at Camping World just south of the freeway.  If anyone was in the car with him, he would always make a comment, ” Wow, the wind is just right today.  The flag looks great.”, “The flag is looking pretty worn out – they will probably be replacing it soon.” and “Look!  A new flag!”.  If his kids were in the car, no matter how small they were, he would ask them, “Where’s the big flag?” and they would eagerly point it out, happy to play along in this ritual with Dad.

Davey loved how great the flag looked as it flew over Phoenix – the city he was committed to protect and serve.  He was proud of being one of the good guys – a part of what’s right about America.  This picture of his favorite flag was found on Davey’s phone after he was killed.  He took it 2 days before his death.

After Davey was killed, Camping World somehow found out about his love for their flag.  So they presented the huge flag that was flying when Davey died to the Phoenix Police Department and they presented more normal-sized flags to Davey’s wife and kids.  Thank you, Camping World!  What a great way to honor him!

The huge flag eventually was given to the Phoenix Police Explorers group which is made up of both high school and college students from all over the valley.  The students give about 3000 hours service to their communities every year and they have helped out at David Glasser Foundation events several times.  The Explorers took the flag with them on their summer trip that year up to Colorado and created their own ceremony to remember and honor Davey.

Tears stream down my face as I look at this picture of these young men and women standing at the foot of the Rocky Mountains with the flag Davey loved stretched out between them while the National Anthem was sung by one of the students.   With young people like these, there is hope for America.  They are in the process of becoming the brave people who fight for freedom that our National Anthem speaks of.

I was told that it was especially fitting because the flag was very worn and tattered on the end.

It’s tough on a flag to stand tall through the sun and wind and dust storms in Phoenix.

It was tough for Davey as he stood tall for justice and safety for the people of Phoenix.

And it’s still tough – every day – for our Law Enforcement Officers who stand tall in the thin blue line between the evil and the innocent – protecting our freedom to live safely in our communities.

When we see the American flag flying high over us – where ever we live – let us remember those at home and abroad who have given their lives to serve and protect us.  And let us remember those who are still sacrificing and protecting our freedom and keeping us safe each day.

Davey loved the flag and what it stands for.

Everytime I drive past a beautiful big flag waving in the wind I think of him……..and smile.

Miss you, Davey.

Miss you.

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.

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.