I Wish

I wish I had had a role model in my Junior and Senior years of high school of a young person who loved people and loved their city enough to risk their life to help keep it safe.  Someone who, at a young age, decided to be an active part of the solution, not part of the problem.

I’m sure there were people around like that when I was in high school but I never heard about them.

This is one of the reasons I spoke with the Moon Valley High School’s Police Science Class this week.  I wanted to tell them about my son, David Glasser, a Moon Valley HS graduate who became a Phoenix Police Officer and was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  They needed to know that he, and other young people like him, start making choices in high school that put them on the path to make a real difference in our community.

A big difference.

Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen – these high schoolers are not too young to decide to become part of the solution.  Thank you to Steve Wams, their instructor, for giving me an opportunity to speak to these kids and for being their role-model every day in class.  High Schoolers have so much potential and so many possibilities ahead of them.  Choices surround them – good and bad.

Their choices – and our choices – help determine the road we travel through this life.  The road I now find myself on is very challenging but I’m determined to learn what I can as I experience the bumps, bruises and twists of this journey.

That’s another reason I spoke with the class.  I’ve learned some life-changing lessons since May 2016.  Before Davey’s death, when I looked down the road to the future, Davey was always there.  When I look to the future now, it looks extremely different.  Great memories and his legacy is still here but, every day, I miss his smiling face, his jokes, his constant planning to have fun and the flow of love that came from him.

I’m so glad he said that last ‘love you’ to me – it has made this struggle easier to bear.

Having been on this planet many decades, you would think I would know all about love.  Right?  Wrong.  The things I have learned about love these last 2 1/2 years surprise me.  I never expected them.  I’ve been a Christ-follower my whole life and I have seriously studied love and God’s love.  But I’ve never experienced the supernatural power of people loving people until Davey died and we all joined together to continue his legacy of love.  When we rise up together over our self-centeredness, magic happens.  When we join our hearts in spite of our differences, love changes things.

It’s one of the things I was excited to get to share with the kids on the Police Science class at Moon Valley.  Actually, the Fire Science class also packed into the room so we had wall-to-wall kids who heard that they could really improve this world they live in when they choose to love.

Davey did it.  Others have done it.  Now it’s their choice.

And it’s our choice.

What do we choose?

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

Where’s Your Net?

We all need one – a network of people around us who support and love us and pray for us.

I’ve got a strong one.  My network is filled with family and friends – old and new – who care about me and want the best for me. Thank you!  You encourage me and love me.  You listen to me and forgive me.  You try to understand me, try to be patient with me and do a good job of putting up with me when I need it.  You make me smile and you make me laugh.  You bring happy tears to my eyes as you hug me and tell me you love me for the thousandth time.

Love you!

Growing up, I never realized the importance of Framily.  Framily are friends who are as close or even closer to you than family.  Looking back, I can see that my parents had a few friends who were framily to them, but my mother was the youngest of sixteen children so we were mainly surrounded by tons of aunts and uncles and cousins.  Hundreds of them.  Time for framily was limited.

After getting out of the Army, I drove all of my belongs down to Phoenix where I had never visited and knew no one.  I was in search of the sun.  After growing up in the Iowa winters with mountains of snow and months of frozen noses and a summer that was defined by 3 weeks of painful humidity, I wasn’t going to stay there.  Needless to say, I’ve gotten lots of sunshine these past 38 years.

I knew nobody when I came to Phoenix but I had learned from moving around in the military that there are good people wherever I went.  I started attending ASU where I knew I would get to meet a lot of people.  I made some friends, fell in love and married my husband.  I still keep in touch with several friends who were in my life from back then.

Many of my treasured framily come from being active in Christ’s Community Church in Glendale for 28 years. Church is a great place to find a framily.  I have very important relationships that began there and bloomed through the years.  Our children were brought up in that spiritual family and several of their church friends became their own framily.  My children’s framilies are still a priority in their lives.  Davey’s framily from that time are an integral part of the support network for his wife and children.  Several of them are at the core of creating and running the David Glasser Foundation.

In the last 2 1/2 years, members of my Blue Family have also become framily – especially Davey’s squad and their wives.   We have gone through hell together and that creates a unique bond that we will always share.  As a framily, we are supporting each other and working together to continue Davey’s legacy of love through the David Glasser Foundation.

In the craziness that defines our culture today, ya’ gotta have a net.  Do you have one?

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

 

When He Does Not

This is a tough one.  It has taken me awhile to come to ‘a good place’ on this topic.  It has taken me even longer to be willing to share it.

God could have saved my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  God is everywhere and he knows everything and he can do anything.

Nothing is impossible for him.

So, no matter what any doctor said, God could have saved Davey.

That night in the hospital, my husband and I walked up and down the hall outside of Davey’s room praying for a miracle and asking everyone we saw to pray for a miracle.  It was our only hope.

When Davey’s brain waves disappeared early the next morning,  we understood that we were not going to get that miracle.  Extremely heartbreaking.  Too hard.  Our lives blown apart.  Overwhelming grief and pain.  Such a sudden, big, sad hole in our lives.

I wanted to ask why but I already understood that the answer was not to ask “why’ but to trust God.  I already knew the historical account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who role-modelled this thousands of years ago.  Right before King Nebuchadnezzar was about to throw them into a blazing furnace because they would not worship him, the three men testified to the king and the watching crowd that their God was able to save them.  “But even if he does not, ” they stated, they weren’t going to worship the king.  They trusted God to either save them or let them die – whichever accomplished God’s purposes here on earth.

They were declaring that – even if God did not give them a miracle – they were going to trust him.  In their story, they received a miracle and walked out of the blaze without a scratch on them.

That’s not my story.  We did not get a miracle.  I will probably never totally understand the purpose of this terrible tragedy this side of heaven.

But I will trust God and move forward in obedience until the day he calls me home.

Jesus told all of us that in this world we will have many trials and sorrows……and this one is at the top of my list.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou.

It’s the Most Difficult Time of the Year

The struggle is very real.  It’s not the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ for many of us.

I never gave much thought about how difficult Christmas can be for some people…..until 2 years ago.

David Glasser, my son who was a Phoenix police officer, was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  And nothing will ever be the same.

Christmas is now a bitter-sweet time for me and my family.  The hole that Davey left in our lives is big and it is growing bigger as the years and the things he has missed add up.  He had such a huge and fun personality that his loss has created craters of pain in my heart.  This causes my emotions to go up and down without any notice of impending tears.  I was not normally an emotional person before Davey’s death but now I am resigned to the fact that, especially during this Christmas season, I rarely get through a day without at least a sheen of tears in my eyes from something that reminds me of what we have lost.  Other situations bring much more tears as different aspects of Christmas prick the broken pieces of my heart.

Then there are days when the joy of memories of Davey during Christmas flood my life and I am so grateful for the 34 1/2 years we had him here.  I am reminded of the young boy who loved Christmas who grew up to be a young man who still loved all the fun of Christmas.  His last couple of Christmases were filled with parties and special times with his young children.  Of course he was asked to host his squad’s Christmas party – he was the party person with a party house.

It makes me smile to remember the many, many great Christmases we had with Davey.

And then tears roll down my face with the knowledge that there will be no more.

I think Christmas is an especially hard time because we are all expected to be happy.  We’re supposed to be looking forward to the jolly times we will have during the Christmas season.  I am.  But I am also very aware that a very special person who filled my life with love and smiles will not be here this Christmas….or ever again.

And I now understand that it is not all fun for a lot of us during Christmas.  I have become more sensitive to the pain in my family, friends and neighbors eyes who are experiencing grief and loss this Christmas.  Our smiles are a little more forced and tempered by a cloud of remembering better times.  Before.

All of this can add up to Christmas being one of the most difficult times of the year.for many of us.

That’s sad, isn’t it.  What can we do about it?

We can live up to Davey’s legacy and love each other well – especially during this time of year.

Miss you, Davey

#8144loveyou

It’s Supernatural

I’m sure I’ll be saying this the rest of my life so don’t be surprised if you hear this from me again.  I’m still a little amazed by how much I have learned about love these last 2 1/2 years since David Glasser, my son who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.

I’ve been on earth quite awhile and I’m a believer, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister and a friend, so I thought I knew a quite a about love.  But I had never before experienced the ‘magic’ that can happen when people love each other in the middle of a tragedy that has blown all of our lives apart.

It has convinced me that love is the answer.   Love is supernatural.

I’m surprised that there is so much more to love that I thought.  I’ve studied love – our love for each other and God’s love.  One of the books I read, “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman helped me learn how to improve in how I show love to my husband, my children and other important people in my life.  If you haven’t read it, you’re missing out on some very helpful information.

We have different ‘love languages’.  I had figured out my love language all on my own early in my marriage.  My husband was great at saying, “I love you” but I often didn’t feel very loved when he didn’t help me with the laundry or cleaning or emptying the dishwasher.  So I told him that he could say he loved me all he wanted, but I didn’t ‘feel’ it unless he was also helping me with all these other things.  I’m glad to say that he got much better at helping me and I began to feel his love.  Later, when I read this book, I realized my love language is ‘Acts of Service”.

What I hadn’t figured out before reading the book was the fact that other people have different love languages.  After I read it, I realized my husband had two love language – Words of Affirmation and Quality Time.  So I adjusted my behavior to try to make sure he was feeling loved as well.

What is significant is the fact that, before reading this book, I thought he felt love like I did so I did things to show I loved him.  I helped him out as much as I could.  That was fine, but that’s not how he felt loved.  He felt loved when he spent time with me and when I point out good things about him with words.

We miss the mark when we show love the same way we feel love.  We are all different.

And our children are different.  I realized one of Davey’s love languages was ‘Receiving Gifts’ when he was about 7 or 8 years-old.  Gifts at his birthday and Christmas were very important to him.  He studied the gifts under the Christmas tree, counting them and trying to figure out what they were.  I was not surprised last weekend when I found Micah, Davey’s son, doing the same thing in front of my Christmas tree.  Similar personalities often have similar love languages.

“Receiving Gifts’ was just one of Davey’s love languages – it was a visual representation of people’s love for him.  This love language was more prominent when he was young.  As he grew older, his other love language of ‘ Quality Time’ became more obvious.  Davey led a very busy life spending time with people he loved.  He was always planning the next trip, the next tailgate, the next party – whatever it took for him to spend time with people he loved.

If he loved you, you knew it.

Let’s all make that our goal this Christmas – to make sure the people we love know and feel that we love them.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

Here are some pictures of Davey’s 16th Birthday party.  The party was obviously “mom’s” idea.  Even though everyone was a little ‘too cool’ for a birthday party, Davey loved being surrounded by his friends.

It’s a Precious Gift

Hope.

Hope is the knowledge that there are good things coming.  It’s a light shining in the darkness of our current circumstances.

It’s one of the most important gifts that can be given to someone who has just experienced a tragedy.

My memory of events immediately after May 18, 2016 are somewhat foggy and there are holes.  That was the day David Glasser, my son who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.  There is a haze of pain and grief over all of my memories of that time.  But there are also many bright spots that shine through the haze and two of the shining spots I remember are gifts of hope.

I was reminded of the first gift when our good friend, Chaplain Bob Fesmire, stopped by our house last week to give us a very special gift for Christmas.  It’s a beautiful advent wreathe which Bob handmade for us.  Exquisite!  It has already become a family heirloom which we will pass down within our family.  We lit the first candle for the first week of advent last Sunday with Micah and Eden.

The first candle represents hope so we talked about hope with our grand darlings.  I don’t think its a coincidence that the first week of this marvelous advent wreathe given to us by Bob represents hope.  Because he gave me hope during the long night in the hospital as we watched Davey’s brain waves disappear.  Chaplain Bob prayed for us and loved us, helping us stay grounded in the love of God through the very painful night.  He gave me hope as he reminded me of the truth of God – that he loves us and would walk closely with us down the extremely tough path that was before us.  Chaplain Bob provided a spark of hope in a night that was filled with hopelessness.  Thank you, Chaplain Bob.

I was recently reminded of another bright spot of hope that shone through the pain and confusion of those first few days after Davey was killed.  The day after we came home from the hospital, we had to start planning the funeral.  I offered to have the discussion at my house and expected 4 to 5 officers to show up.  We actually had more like 15 to 20 officers coming and going throughout this process of planning our part of the funeral.  It was chaos – especially for people who were in shock over what had happened the last 2 days.  I understand that it had to be done because so much planning goes into these funerals.  The word ‘totally overwhelmed’ doesn’t do a good job of describing the feelings I had during those several hours.

Right at the end of the planning, Angela Harrolle, the CEO of the 100 Club came and presented a check to Kristen to help with any financial needs that might come up in the near future.  Angela shared that her husband had been killed in the line of duty 7 years before and her children had been around the same age of Davey’s children were when their father was killed.  That’s when I started staring at her.  She was the first family member I had met who had gone through what we were going through.

She looked healthy and happy.   At a time when I didn’t know if I would ever smile again, she smiled when she spoke of her children.  She was also the CEO of the 100 club.  She had figured out a way to move forward from the tragedy and she was working hard to help others.

Angela gave me a gift that day.  I remember saying to myself, “If she can do it, we can do it.”   There was hope.  Thank you, Angela.

There is always hope.

We are reminded of that when we light the first advent candle.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

 

 

 

 

I Didn’t Know

I could never have imagined.

When my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty, I had no idea what it meant to be a part of the Blue Family.  Davey was good at not talking ‘shop’ when he was off duty.  I had met most of his squad members and their wives because Davey and Kristen would regularly invite them over to their house for fight night and some poker.  He would invite his dad and I, too, so we got to know his cop friends.

I knew they were a good bunch of people but I never understood how really great our Blue Family is………until the day.

It was a Wednesday afternoon when Kristen called me as I drove home from work.  She was crying and told me Davey had been shot.   I immediately started shaking and had trouble comprehending what she was saying.  Byrd, Davey’s best friend on his squad, took over the call and realized I wasn’t far from the hospital.  So he told me to drive to the hospital, pull into the emergency area, tell the first police officer I saw who I was and give them my car keys.  They would take me upstairs.

I had to focus really hard as I drove to the hospital because a million thoughts were swirling through my head.  I didn’t have any trouble finding a police officer as I pulled into the emergency driveway – the roads around the hospital were already lined with police vehicles and there were police officers everywhere.  They were expecting me so I handed over my keys and someone took me upstairs.

I did not know at that time that I was actually being taken right into the center of the Blue Family.  Significant things in my life had already started changing – I would never be the same.  There was a lot of pain and grief ahead.  But there was also a whole new crowd of great people in my Blue Family who were going to enter my world.

I didn’t know then that I was going to meet hundreds of police officers who would all say these kinds of things:

‘Let me know if you ever need anything.’

“I’m always here for you.”

“Never forget that I’m here to help – let me give you my cell number.’

‘Just let me know whenever I can help.”

Yesterday, the David Glasser Foundation had our 2018 Shop with a Cop event.  Over 50 police officers volunteered to shop in Target with kids from a high-risk area of Phoenix to help them pick out gifts for their entire family for Christmas.  Several of these officers came straight over to the event from their night shift.  When I thanked them for coming, they thanked me in return for giving them a chance to be part of this fun event and part of what the David Glasser Foundation is doing.  And they said things like,

“Let me know if you ever need anything.  I’m here for you.”

“Please let me know when you need more volunteers.  I’ll be here.  Here’s my number.”

This is our Thin Blue Line.  People who care and are willing to go a lot of extra miles to prove it.  People who work hard at making a difference.  People who remember.  People who want to help honor Davey by continuing the work he started.

We had just as many civilian volunteers at the event helping kids get signed in, wrapping gifts, serving Peter Piper Pizza and taking pictures with Santa.  This is our Blue Family – it includes all those who love and support the Thin Blue Line.

After the Shop with a Cop event, my family participated in the annual COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) Christmas party.  It was great food and great fun but the most significant thing to me was seeing this very large room filled with people. Yes, we had survived.  Our lives had all been changed by a line of duty death.  In spite of our differences, we had a lot in common.  And – once again – we were being supported by our Blue Family through COPS.

Three years ago I didn’t know very much about my Blue Family.

Now I can’t imagine going through these last 2 1/2 years without them.

Love you, Blue Family!

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

 

One More Thing

It has been one very long string of losing one thing after another.

My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  Since that day, I have been in a constant process of losing things that connect me back to the time he was alive.  And each loss hurts.  Each loss touches the places that are broken in my heart.

I don’t think it’s ever going to stop.  My husband and I lived very close to Davey and his family the last 5 years of his life.  That was a huge blessing.  It also caused our lives to be closely interwoven with each other – many, many connections.

And I’ve been painfully losing these connections to Davey – one by one – these last 2 1/2 years.

I know there are many connections that I will never lose.  These connections are with Kristen and Micah and Eden.  They are with my family, Davey’s friends, his squad and our blue family.    God has richly blessed me with these important relationships and I am very grateful for them.

I will never lose the great memories and fun times we had with Davey.  I will always treasure those.

All of this does not take away the grief of losing each thing, one after another.  Most recently, Davey and Kristen’s first dog, Scout, died.  They bought him right after they got married when they heard that their apartment accepted dogs.  Then they discovered that the apartment accepted one-year-old dogs, but not puppies.  My husband and I looked at our first little grand puppy and had no other option than to keep him at our house for a couple of months until Davey’s lease was up and they could get a different apartment.

Of course, this also meant that we house trained Scout.  He was a smart little Jack Russell but he didn’t catch on as quickly as I had hoped.  I remember he and I having several heated discussions over puddles on my tile.

Scout was there through every stage of Davey and Kristen’s marriage.  Scout adjusted as they adopted more dogs which were 100 pounds larger than him but he never gave up his alpha dog status.  He moved with them through first apartments and then the house they built and on to another home.  He was there to welcome their two babies home and loved the toddlers even when they tried to pull his tail.  Tears roll down my face as I remember how much Davey loved to throw Scout’s ball high and watch him fly across the room to catch it.

We have lost so much.

So now Scout is gone.  One more thing.  One more connection to how life was before Davey died.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

 

 

 

37 Years Ago

Tomorrow is my son’s birthday.

David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on May 19, 2016.  Tomorrow he would have been 37 years-old.

He’s not here to celebrate with us but I am still celebrating.   I am thankful for every day that he was on this earth.

The common-held idea that good people die young is very appropriate in this situation.  Davey was one of the good guys and its hard to ignore the big hole his death has left in my life.  I am frequently reminded of the painful gap between what is and what should be.  His future was something I really looked forward to.  His dreams became my dreams for him as he grew and matured into a man with integrity who cared about the people in his community and city.

I will never forget, on his first day of life, there was an Air Quality Alert going on for the city of Phoenix.  As I held my newborn son in my arms, I looked out at the foggy sky through my hospital window and wondered if it was wise it was to bring a child into a world where the air we breathe is polluted.

Since then, I have found that there are far worse things than air pollution.  The evil that lives in the hearts of people who prowl our neighborhoods is what is really dangerous.  The anger and rebellion and lack of respect that defines the lives of some of the people driving down our streets is much more lethal than the air.  Lately we’ve been watching this anger and evil explode in mass shootings of innocent people.  Unfortunately, it will only get worse until our elected city  officials and the people of our city give our law enforcement officers the respect they deserve, staff our law enforcement agencies correctly, pay our law enforcement officers well and give the officers the tools they need to do their jobs right.

Why haven’t we learned this lesson yet?

I couldn’t have known 37 years ago that my son would decide to part of the solution to the problems in our culture and in our city.  Davey loved being a Police Officer because it put him right up close and personal with the people choosing evil and unsafe behaviors.  And it put good people behind his gun and behind his back, away from the danger.

I’m proud of being a part of the Blue Family which stands for courage, honor and sacrifice.

Davey stood tall for all three.

Happy Birthday tomorrow, Davey!  Miss you.

#8144loveyou

You Heard It Here First

It’s exciting!

It’s the next step in the dream.

It’s gonna happen in February 2019 –

The frist David Glasser Foundation Basketball League.

It’s happening in Laveen where David Glasser, my son and a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on May 19, 2016.

This is the start of the big dream God gave us of having David Glasser Foundation sports leagues and tournaments across the valley providing a service to our communities.   These sports events will also offer opportunities for Police Officers to grow positive relationships with people in the communities they serve.

Next year starts off with a spring DGF Basketball League followed by the 1st Annual DGF Flag Football Tournament in March and then, in the fall, another DGF Basketball League.

A whole year of sports!  Davey just got out his basketball and is hitting the court in heaven for a pick-up game!

You probably have heard how much Davey loved sports – all of them.  He was a super fan of the Cardinals and the Diamondbacks and all ASU sports.  He played baseball and basketball as a kid and decided to focus on basketball when he moved into Junior High.  He was a coach’s player because he played consistently well every game.  After retiring from the Police force, he planned to get his teaching certificate and teach at the high school level while coaching – probably basketball. And probably in a high-risk area of Phoenix because that was just who he was.  He really cared about the areas of our city which are struggling and he understood basketball very well.  He also understood all of the life skills that sports can give a kid when they are coached well.

Davey never got the chance to fulfill that dream of being a coach.  So the David Glasser Foundation is picking up his dream and providing opportunities for kids in high risk areas of Phoenix to receive the good coaching and great life skills which will help them get on  the road to success in their personal lives.

We are looking forward to partnering with Laveen Youth Sports, a non-profit group in Laveen which has been running successful sports leagues there for several years.

We are planning to grow our leagues and, through sports and our police officer volunteers,  have a positive influence on the lives of a lot of kids and their parents for many years to come.

It’s Davey’s dream on a larger scale.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou