I’m Not Mad

Some friends of mine asked me last week if I got mad at God when Davey was killed.  My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.

I hadn’t thought about it before but, looking back, I cannot remember a moment when I was mad at God.  I know many people have that reaction when tragedy strikes because we know that God is in total control of what happens on earth and now this really bad thing happened.

That was not my response.

After thinking about it, I figured out that I didn’t get mad at God because I learned the truth more than 25 years ago that God is not Santa Claus.  He doesn’t exist to grant all of my wishes.

God is not here to do what I want him to do.  I am here to do what God wants me to do.

That’s a very important difference.

God is perfect, he is all-knowing and all-powerful.  He is the Uncreated One – eternal.  It’s all about him, not about me.

I also know that God is good, all the time.  He loves me, he wants the best for me and he is working all things out for my good.  My current circumstances don’t change these facts.

We spent the night Davey was shot in the hospital praying for a miracle.  In the midst of praying and asking everyone I saw to pray for a miracle, I was thinking about the great story we would get to tell when Davey miraculously got better.  As the night progressed, more tests were done and it became painfully obvious that Davey had already left us.  There was no miracle for us that night.

I remember thinking in the midst of my black swirling cloud of grief, “Well, that’s not the story God is writing right now.  There is something else going on.  God’s doing something different.”

Faith is about trusting in God even when we don’t understand.  Faith is about trusting in God even when we’re struggling with too much pain, too much loss, too much sorrow.  Faith is about trusting God even when tomorrow looks dark and it’s not a place we want to go.

The fact is that I’m still here because God has things he wants me to do.  That gives me purpose and helps me focus my eyes above instead of what’s behind me.

I’m not mad.   I’m grateful to God for his love and guidance through this worst time in my life.  I’m grateful for all the blessings I have in my life right now.  I’m grateful for all of the kindness and grace and love so many people have shown me and my family in these last 3 1/2 years.

And I’m extremely grateful for the 34 1/2 years on earth that I got to spend with Davey.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

He is Safe

I’ll admit it – it’s been almost 4 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, “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 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 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.

Not Just One Day

David Glasser was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  Before his death, Davey made a habit of telling people he loved them and showing love to them.  He thought this was so important that he tried to influence those around him to also catch the ‘love you’ habit.  So, does it surprise you that he didn’t like Valentine’s Day?

He thought is was a holiday made up by the card and candy manufacturers in order to make money.  He knew that telling someone you love them and showing it was not a one day each year holiday.  It should be an every day event .  So setting aside a day didn’t make sense to him.  I received Valentine cards from him during his ‘make your mom a valentine card’ years at school and church but not very many after that.daveydave-tony-and-carter

What I received from him was so much more valuable than a card.  He gave me consistent, genuine love and attention.  Those of you who are his friends, family and framily know what I’m talking about.

He cared about us and he showed it regularly in a thousand different ways.

Every day.

Isn’t that so much more important than remembering to show our love one day a year?

Don’t get me wrong – I like Valentine’s Day.  I buy valentines for my friends and family and make sure there is plenty of “love you’s’ and hugs going around.  And I love flowers  – hope my husband reads this 🙂

But the challenge for us – you and me –  is to figure out how to make every day Valentine’s Day for those we love.  I’m not talking about buying stuff.  I’m talking about expressing our love in words and actions every day.

I started the David Glasser $8144 “Love You” Campaign a little over 3 years ago.  This campaign is all about remembering to say ‘love you’ to the people we care about and remembering to show people we love them with our actions.   It’s also about encouraging and showing appreciation for all law enforcement officers.  We have a Facebook page – check it out and you can request to become a member.

We also have memorial stickers and car decals available at the store at the David Glasser Foundation.org website.  These decals remind us to ‘Love You’ and encourage others around us to “Love You’.

And don’t forget our new David Glasser Memorial T-shirt.  The shirt is also available at the store on the foundation website and has ‘Love you’ on the sleeve.  Wearing it reminds you to say it and wearing it also honors and remembers Davey’s love and sacrifice for us and our community.

Because it’s definitely not about just one day.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

 

 

So Quickly

In a second……

everything permanently changes.

We were all reminded this week of how quickly life ends.  We were reminded how quickly several families’ whole idea of what they thought their future was going to be literally crashed and burned.  We were reminded that nobody – no matter how anonymous or how famous – is immune to sudden disasters.

Situations like this where young people are gone in an instant bring me back.  Every situation in the news where a family of a law enforcement officer is left behind after their officer is killed brings me back.

It brings me back to where I was when my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed – in a second –  in the line of duty.  May 18, 2016 – a date seared into my soul.   When I hear the news of the latest tragedy, I find myself visiting that deep, dark place of pain, grief and loss once again.

I don’t know the specifics of other people’s situations, but I know the feelings.  I know the fog.  I know the swirling.  I know the emptiness.

If you’ve experienced this kind of tragedy, you know it, too.

The good news is that now I just visit that place.  I’m not stuck there.  I can feel it, recognize it, pray for those that have joined me on this road of recreating what my future looks like but I’m not staying in the dark place.  God has a purpose for leaving me here and that’s what I need to focus on.  I can’t focus on all I have lost…..there’s too much.

Just like you, I am reminded once again that life is short.  I am reminded how precious life is.  I am reminded how quickly people can be gone.  I’m reminded of how quickly I could be gone.

I am reminded of some of the game-changing things I have learned these last almost 4 years since Davey left us –

Life is short – forgive others, love others, cherish your time with them.  Always put God and people before ‘stuff’ and money.

No regrets – go, do, see, don’t put things off. Deal with conflict positively or let it go  Don’t stop talking to people when you’re mad at them – you may never get another chance to say ‘love you”.

Love is the answer – Love has a magical quality that comes straight from God.  Love first and worry about all the other stuff later.  Our lives will be empty unless we fill them with love.  We don’t want to miss the chances we have to love others and add something meaningful to their lives.

Davey had it so right when he made sure the last thing he said to anyone he cared about was ‘love you’.  Now we are all blessed as his last words to us continue to echo through our hearts and minds.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

A Permanent Mark

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 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 he has left on us is big.  We are discovering how big as we continue to love each other in more obvious ways.  More hugs.  More caring.  Saying it and showing it.

The cost is giving up some of our ‘separateness’ and privacy by actually caring for people around us.  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 that love has magical qualities that 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.

#8144loveyou

His Voice

I would recognize it anywhere.

Last week a memory came up on my Facebook page from 5 years ago.  Davey had made a video of his son sharing what he learned in Children’s Church that Sunday.  Adding arm gestures, 4 year-old Micah said, “God loves me.”  Watching the video, I was just starting to smile when I heard Davey’s voice come onto the video, encouraging Micah.

I wasn’t prepared.

The tears started instantly.

I would recognize that voice anywhere.

David Glasser was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  Almost 4 years ago.  At times like these, it feels like yesterday.  If you knew Davey or were at his funeral, you know he is in heaven today.  He put his faith in Jesus and he wasn’t shy about sharing that with other people.

God leaves out a lot of details in the Bible about how heaven works.  He mentions streets of gold, mansions and crowns but I think he used those descriptions because those are things we can relate to and understand.  I think heaven is going to be indescribably better than that.

God gives us a glimpse of what our bodies might be like in heaven when we read about Jesus after his resurrection.  Jesus ate, he walked through walls, and he just ‘appeared’ places.  People didn’t recognize him right away….. but then they did a double-take and knew who he was.

I know that we have each been uniquely designed by our Father God and we reflect different aspects of who he is.  I believe we will take the good parts of that ‘personality’ into heaven with us.

I believe that – someday when I get to my ‘forever home’ in heaven – I will hear his voice again.  Davey’s voice.  I might not recognize him right away but I will instantly know who he is because of that voice.

Davey is there already.

Someday I’ll join him.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

His Final Words

I am painfully reminded almost every day how short life can be.  How quickly things change – permanently.

My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police officer who was killed almost 3 1/2 years ago.  He was doing his job just like he had done every day for 12 years.  But on May 18, 2016, his life ended.

The worst happened.

Those of us who were left behind will never be the same.  Our worlds blew up and the emotional fall-out continues.  Every time I visit Davey’s spot in the cemetery, I am reminded of  all the families whose heroes are buried in the same area and are on this painful journey with us.  We’re drowning in a ocean of tears waking up each day to an unforgettable hole.

It’s a struggle.  Some of my steps moving forward really hurt.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that the last thing Davey said to everyone that he cared about was “love you”.  He even said it to his squad members and waited until they said it back.  It has been such a blessing for us to have that last ‘love you’ echoing through our heads as we deal with the grief and loss of Davey’s death.

If you have been reading this blog, you also know that one of the things I wish Davey had done was write me a letter.  It would be something I could get out to read over and over again on the dark days when I need some encouragement.  Because of this, I have now written letters to everyone who is dear to me in my life and I plan to update them every ten years or so if I stay on this planet for a while longer.

I know Davey loved me.  He and I thought alike so we didn’t have to say a lot to communicate how we felt about each other.  Now, I would really love to have some of that written down in a letter.

So imagine my amazement when I was recently searching through our small document safe that holds our important ‘stuff’ and I found an envelope with Davey’s handwriting on the outside.  In the envelope is a list written in Davey’s handwriting.  The bottom of the page says, “Sunday School 1999.”

He was 18 years-old.

He had written what he thought his life would be like “40 years from now”.  He gave a couple of options of what he wanted as a career and one of them was ‘police officer’.  He described the woman he would marry, how many kids he wanted, and his desire to continue to grow his relationship with God and be active in a church family.

It’s amazing to me that I kept this.  It’s definitely a God-thing. I’m an anti-hoarder so I’m very selective of the things I choose to keep. The number of old things I’m willing to move and store goes down as the years progress.

I shared the list Davey had written with my husband and Kristen because this is as close to a letter as we’re going to get.

I have discovered that this list encourages me.  It reminds me of Davey and sparks great memories of how his eyes would light up when he talked about his plans and dreams.

He didn’t have 40 more years.  But reading this list makes me so grateful that we took full advantage of the 16 more years he had at the point when he wrote this.  No regrets.  We had 34 awesome years with him here on earth and that’s going to have to be enough until we see him again in heaven.

Thank you for the letter, Davey.

Miss you.

#8144loveyou

Look Up!!

What am I thinking about?

What am I focused on?

I ask these questions when I find myself in a dark place.

When I’m sad.

When I’m stuck in yesterday.

When the list of what I have lost seems way too long.

When my shattered dreams fill my head as the tears drip down my face.

David Glasser, my son, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  Those of you who knew him realized that he was unique – he had a high level of integrity and knowledge of what was right and wrong and he also loved people and loved to have fun.  My husband and I lived 1 1/2 miles away from Davey so we got to spend a lot of time with him and his family.

And suddenly – without warning – Davey was gone.

Every day, I am reminded of just how much of the light and joy in my life went with him.

On Davey’s birthday, a group of his family and friends visited his spot in the cemetery and released balloons into the sky.  This is a very old tradition reaching back to biblical times when incense was burned so it could combine with the prayers of God’s people as they floated up to heaven.

As I remember watching our balloons covered with messages of love rise high into the sky and finally disappear, I realize that this is what I need to do.  Look up.  And I invite those of who have experienced a huge loss in your life to join me.

I’m going to Look Up –

Look up to see the sun shining on all of my blessings that are still here.

Look up to remember how important messages of love and encouragement are to those of us left behind.

Look up to remember that my prayers – our prayers – go to a God who loves us and who wants the best for us and who can do the impossible.

As 2020 begins, let’s Look Up together to see all the possibilities a brand new year can bring.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

 

You Need to Write a Letter

In fact, you probably need to write several letters.   This is a perfect time to do it as we begin a new year.

These letters are for the people you love most so they can have something tangible to hold and read and read again after you aren’t here anymore.

The letters might be full of things you have already told them.  Or you may be able to write some things that you’ve never been able to say or haven’t said in a long time.  There might be some specific encouragements that you want to share with them knowing that they are grieving your loss as they read this letter.

Our soldiers who are going off to war or being deployed to dangerous foreign countries have always been pretty good at doing this.  It’s a normal thing that they are encouraged and reminded to write letters before they leave.

It’s not so true for our brothers and sisters in Blue.  I guess it’s just a more obvious thing to do when you’re getting on a plane to Iraq than it is when you’re getting into your car to go to the precinct.

And it’s definitely not as obvious for the rest of us who are not putting on uniforms and bullet-proof vests and guns.

But the danger is just as real.  Today could be the day that you and I don’t come back home.

My son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Policeman who was killed in the line of duty in 2016,  didn’t leave any letters.  I wish he had.   I would have loved to have a final letter from him to hold…and read….and hold.  I have his last Mother’s Day card to me framed on my dresser.  It’s an awesome last message and I will treasure it for the rest of my life.

We know he loved us.  We know what he would say about a lot of things that have happened since his death.  But to have something tangible……knowing he knew we would be reading it if he didn’t come back one day.  That would have been very special.

So – you and I need to write some letters.  All of us.  Because none of us are promised tomorrow.

I wrote my letters about two years ago when I realized that I really wished I had one from Davey.  They aren’t easy to write – I used a lot of tissues.  They are all safely tucked away in our personal safe at home.  So they’re ready for that time.  Whenever it comes.

If I stay on this earth another 15 – 20 years I will probably write some more and add them to the pile.  I want those I love to have this last gift from me…

to read…

and hold…

and read again.

How about you?  Have you written your letters yet?

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

The Most Difficult Time of the Year

and a little darker.  The pain becomes a little stronger.

It becomes increasingly harder not to focus on what I have lost.

What my family has lost.

David Glasser, my son, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty May 18, 2016.  My journey since then has been a constant struggle.  And this struggle intensifies during the holidays when happy memories haunt my days.  Davey is 7 in this picture and our daughter is 3.  They were both so excited about Christmas!

Sometimes I just wish the holidays were over.

I know many of you share my feelings.  Since I’ve had this very public and tragic loss in my life, more people have been telling me about their own heartbreaks and the losses they have experienced.  And others haven’t talked about it but I can see the private pain in your eyes when we talk about my heartbreak.

We both know the struggle, we share the struggle – especially at Christmas.

So I force my attention away from my loss and focus on all the blessings God is giving me right now –  my three granddarlings are at the top of that list.  They are so precious and  they easily distract me from thinking about all I have lost.

One of the several life-changing lessons I have learned from this tragedy is just how short our lives can be and how quickly someone can be gone.  So the hole in my life reminds me that I need to make the most of the time I have now with the people that are still here.  This is not the time to get stuck in yesterday.  I have new memories to make because there is no guarantee that we’ll have tomorrow together here on earth.

You and I also shouldn’t ignore the difficult days that so many people around us are experiencing this time of year.  I read that this week of Christmas has the highest rate of suicide across our nation.

That is so wrong.

So I pray for those of us who are feeling additional pain and loss during this tough season.  And I am trying to be extra patient and kind to people in my world this week – on the freeway, at the store, in the parking lots.  Many of them are struggling and I don’t want to add to the difficulties they have in their lives.

Can each of us think of a way we can reach out helping hands to others who are not enjoying ‘the most wonderful time of the year’?

And please join me in praying for a little more peace on earth during this holiday season.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou