In the Dark

A couple of years ago, the fence came down.

I’m talking about the fence around the Phoenix Memorial Cemetery where my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016, is buried.

The truth is that the fence never kept anybody out anyway.  The sign on the cemetery said it opened at 8 am and closed the gates when the sun went down.

But the closed gates never kept anybody out.  I know of many night visits by groups of Davey’s friends who jumped over the fence.  There are ripped pants to prove it.  You know who you are.  After talking with other people visiting this area of the cemetery where several fallen officers are buried, I have discovered that jumping over the fence for a night visit was not an unusual occurrence. It happened all the time.

This doesn’t surprise me.  Darkness highlights the emptiness we feel.  The hole in our lives feels huge after the sun goes down.

As the night wraps around us, loneliness grows.  Sometimes we’re surrounded by people but our heart longs for that one person.  The one person who is missing.

And their spot on this earth is at the cemetery……

this is where we said our last goodbyes……

so a fence doesn’t stop us.

I love to see all the things people leave for Davey at his spot – pictures, painted stones and coins.  I visualize his friends as they give Davey a beer or a shot and then stand by his stone, having a drink with him……remembering so many fun times.

Before it came down the fence was in bad shape, so I thought the cemetery management might be planning to put up a new one.  But they haven’t.  I guess they got the news about the night visits and realized replacing the fence was a waste of money.

On those difficult, lonely nights a fence didn’t stop anybody.

Miss you, Davey

Love you.

The Hard Truth

I love all the blessings God has showered down on me. I cherish all of the great people God has brought into my life. I appreciate all the awesome things God has given me to enjoy on this earth.

It’s so easy to be happy and praise God when I focus on all of the good things in my life.

But how do I react when something bad happens? The book of Job in the Bible is a great one to study for those of us who have experienced devastating tragedy.

After Satan kills all of Job’s children, Job responds with “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away: may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21 – 22.

Hard, hard truth. All of us at sometime experience ‘the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away’ part of this truth. I didn’t know how horrible this could be until my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016. God gave me Davey for 34 1/2 precious years and then God took him away.

Totally unbelievable. A huge loss that filled my world with grief and pain. It has been a tsunami that continues to smash dreams I had and crush hopes of what my future with Davey in my life was going to look like.

I don’t like it. I don’t understand it. God and I have had many conversations about it and I have come to one conclusion.

I submit. I submit to God’s will. I submit to his purpose. I will never like it, and I probably will never understand it. So I submit.

God is perfect. He is good, all the time. He wants the best for me. He is working all things out for my good. When I filter all of my circumstances through these truths, God gives me peace and the strength to face a future here on earth without Davey.

The LORD gives and he takes away.

May the name of the LORD be praised.

Everything Shook

May 18, 2016.

David Glasser, my son, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on that day.

And everything in my world shook.

You cannot imagine what that feels like until it happens to you.  Because it wasn’t just my life – the tsunami of his death hit everyone who was close to Davey. My two grandchildren’s world exploded.  My daughter-in-law’s world crashed. My daughter’s world flipped upside down as all of her dreams and plans with her big brother crumbled.

My husband’s world shattered into tiny pieces.  Davey was his best friend and my husband’s father had just passed away 2 weeks before Davey was killed.  Too much.

Davey’s close friend’s and squad member’s worlds spiraled in various directions as each person felt the blow of Davey’s death.

The world shook.  It twisted.  It filled with unimaginable grief.  It emptied of joy and light.

I needed something solid to hold onto while everything around me smashed and rocked.  And I found the one thing that didn’t shatter, didn’t tilt, didn’t explode.  He was right beside me and he was Rock Solid – my Father God.  Always there, always loving us, always caring for me.

God has been with us every step of the way as we have each had to pick our way through the devastation Davey’s death had on our lives.  I am completely convinced that God is good and nothing that has happened to me changes that.

As my world gradually stopped shaking, I realized I was in this new place, a new reality.  My head recognizes this place and knows I have to keep moving forward.  My heart is still regularly tugged back to a time when Davey was here, making me laugh and filling my life with his special kind of love.

The time before my whole world shook.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

It Has Been Decided

My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.

These last 5 1/2 years have been the most difficult and painful time of my life.

One of the ways God has comforted me is through this truth – ” A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” Job 14:5.

God has already decided which day will be the last day of your life here on earth and mine.

Knowing this helped me let go of my mother when she passed away 16 years ago.  We had a very close relationship and she was my role-model for how a Christian woman lives her life faithful to God – all the way to her last breath here on earth.  I realized, if God wanted her in heaven with him, then that’s what I wanted for her.  She was an awesome grandmother to my children and this picture of her with Davey brings back great memories of all of my mother’s famous cinnamon rolls we ate together.  Mom had two rules about the cinnamon rolls – nobody counted how many rolls anybody ate and you had to come see her to get some. She didn’t give them to people to give to other people – she wanted to see you and spend time with you.  If there are cinnamon rolls in heaven, you can bet that these two are gobbling down a bunch of these together today.

davey-and-grandma-rolls

Fifteen years ago I found myself in ICU with twelve blood clots in my lungs.  Have you ever seen a doctor look scared when they tell you are experiencing a life-threatening situation?  Laying in the emergency room, I heard God clearly tell me that I wasn’t going to die from this.  Later, five different doctors at five different times looked at me in awe and told me the blood clots should have killed me.

They obviously didn’t kill me. It just wasn’t my day.

I know that God has reasons for picking May 18 as Davey’s final day here on earth.  I may never understand those reasons but I trust God.  And, since God wants him in heaven, that’s what I want for Davey.

Knowing that this date was determined before Davey was born helps me avoid needless regrets like –

  • I wish he hadn’t gone on that call.
    • It wouldn’t have mattered.  This was his day.
  • I wish he hadn’t gone to work that day.
    • It would have happened no matter what he was doing.
  • I wish he hadn’t been a police officer.
    • He was born to be a police officer and he died honorably, serving his community and doing what he loved to do.  He wouldn’t have wanted to live or die any other way.

It was decided.  There is no ‘wishing’ something else had happened.  God decreed the number of Davey’s days here on earth and then he took Davey home.

Now, standing on a foundation of God’s love and strength and grace, I am figuring out how to move forward.    I am still here because God has a purpose for me and that’s what my life needs to be about until the day God has already determined when he will come to bring me home.

I don’t know all the details of my future but meanwhile, through the tears, I’m focusing on loving God and loving other people.

A bigger chunk of my heart is now in heaven with you, Abba Father.

Leftover Dust

My dreams were crushed.

The vision of what my future here on earth was going to be blew apart.

All of the smiles and love and good times that I expected to have with my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, were ripped away on May 18, 2016 when he was shot and killed in the line of duty.

There are large places in my life that are filled with disappointments from all I have lost.  Actually, calling them disappointments is like calling a hurricane a little rainstorm.  I’m disappointed when my team doesn’t win, I’m disappointed when a friend doesn’t text me back – those are disappointments.

Davey’s death caused devastation. It was a crushing blow.

All that was left of my hopes and dreams of his future and my part in it was dust.  How do I deal with the dust?  What do I do with the small remnant of an extremely important part of my life?

I didn’t know.  I just knew I didn’t want to go down the angry and bitter road that I’ve seen some survivors go down.  I didn’t want to go the hopeless route, blaming others for my unhappiness.

I didn’t know what to do with the dust so I gave it to God.  I trusted that the Creator of all Things could do something with the dust …..and he has.  As I have watched, I am seeing him begin to create a new part of me in the empty space – something stronger, more compassionate, increasingly solid and based on his truth.  He has helped me refocus my eyes off of this world which is not my home and onto my next ‘forever home’.

God has given a purpose to my dust and is remolding me through the devastation that has happened in my life.  It’s very evident that he’s not done.  He is in the process of re-creating what my future looks like on this earth.

For now, that is enough.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

His Voice

I would recognize it anywhere.

Last week a memory came up on my Facebook page from 6 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.

My son, David Glasser was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016. 

Over 5 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.

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.

Love you.

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.