When. Not If.

The question is not ‘if’ something bad is going to happen to us.  The right question is ‘when’.  Because something bad is going to happen sometime in our future.

Failure, separation, broken relationships.

Disease, accidents, illness, pain, death.

It’s going to happen.  And most of the time it will happen when we least expect it.

A very close friend of mine received a huge shock several years ago when her beautiful daughter-in-law didn’t wake up one morning.  33 years-old.  And she didn’t wake up.

She was fine the day before.

She leaves behind a husband, a young son, and a large number of family and friends who never expected something like this to happen.

Many times there is no warning.  I was on my normal commute home from work when I got the call that my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, had been shot in the line of duty.  He died that day.

It’s not ‘if’, the question is ‘when’.

So do we live our lives with a cloud of worry and fear over our heads just waiting for the next ax to fall?  Or do we ignore the inevitable and deal with it when it happens?

Neither of those sound like a good option to me.  The tragedy that blew my life apart is not going to cause me to spend the rest of my life focused on dreading the next bad thing.  But I’m also not going to pretend that there are no more hard times coming.

I have chosen to try to find a balance somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.  I am working on growing my faith – getting closer to God.  God has been my anchor through this painful storm.   I am also trying to grow my resilience in the face of adversity – defining and strengthening the process I use when bad things happen.  Because they are going to happen.

I tend to lean more in the positive direction than the negative – life is more good than bad.  I like to focus on good things – they make the struggle all worth it.

And I have learned a lot about love these last 4 1/2 years.  When we show love to those around us – even when we don’t know them – it really does matter.  Each expression of love, every hand that reaches out, any show of kindness and love – it all matters.  Davey taking time out of his schedule packed with family and career to fly across the country to celebrate his step-grandfather’s 90th birthday and putting his arm around Merle for a picture matters – especially when 90 was the last birthday his step-grandfather celebrated.

It’s all worth the effort.  When we love each other, we’re on the right track.

Because it’s not a question of ‘if’ something bad is going to happen to us.  The right question is ‘when’.

Loving each other helps when the worst happens.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

 

 

 

 

My Nightmare

It happened again recently.  While talking with someone I just met, the subject came up and I said my son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who had been killed in the line of duty almost 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 very bad dream.

Praying that it was all a nightmare that I could wake up from.fullsizerender-2

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 his memorial picture that hangs in my kitchen.  He had such a great smile.

As I looked around, I was hoping that I wouldn’t see the folded flag in the flag box along with his Medal of Honor.

But I saw the card and the picture and the flag everyday.

Because it wasn’t just a very bad dream.

The worst happened.

The nightmare is real.

And I know the nightmare is still very real to a whole group of us who knew Davey well and loved him.  I can see it in your eyes.  Our hearts are broken.  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.

You feel it, too.

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.  Davey is there with my mother, father, stepfather, brother and many more of my family and friends who have gone home before him.  He recently had a reunion with his grandmother, my mother-in-law. 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 this plan.img_2481

Davey walked into my dream a few months after he died.   In the dream, I was sitting at his kitchen table with his wife and tiny daughter – all the ‘girls’.    It felt very real and much like one of the many times we would sit around the table and talk.  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 remember my brain jumping around, realizing that this shouldn’t be happening.  Maybe everything else really was all just an extremely bad 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.  The card and the flag and the picture were all still there.

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 he would like to see you again, too.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

Get in the Picture

I love having pictures of memories – they help me remember the feelings I had when it was happening and it makes the memory even more precious.   Since I love having pictures, I take a lot of pictures.

I didn’t realize until after my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty that I had very few pictures of just him and I – and most of those were when he was a little kid.  I have tons and tons of pictures of Davey and his dad and, of course, I was there taking the pictures…..

but I’m not in the pictures.  Most of the pictures are of fun times and special memories.  I wish I were in them.  Those of you following this blog are seeing me post the few pictures I have with adult Davey over and over and over – because that’s all I have.

Some of you may hate getting your pictures taken and you’re wondering why not being in the picture bothers me.  Hopefully not, but consider for a second how you might feel differently about pictures with your son or daughter or grandchild whom you loved if the worse happened.  If you had to live the rest of the your days on this earth without them.  If memories are all you had left.

I can’t do anything about the past but I can change the future.  So those of you who know me know that I have become the ‘Selfie Queen’.  I am now in the picture along with everyone else.  When someone in the group says – ‘I’ll take the picture’, I say, “Nope!  Everyone’s in.” . Luckily I’m tall with long arms so I have a built-in selfie stick.  I think my record number of people in one of my selfies without a stick is 12.  When I actually have one of my selfie sticks, ( I have more than 1) I can get 30 or more people in.

I’ve made kind of a game of it.  I’ll hold up the camera and say “Get in” and everyone has to find a spot.  My family has become experts at this.  Jostling for a spot can be kind of fun so almost everyone already has a smile when it’s picture time.

And – bonus – I’m in the picture.  I’m there when next year I want to look at it and remember.  I’m there 2 years from now when I look at it and remember.  I’m there 30 years from now when I’m no longer here but others want to look at it and remember.

My suggestion to you – get in the picture.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

I’m Not Mad

Some friends of mine asked 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 to us.

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 4 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.

Love you.

It’s Really May 18th

May 18 – the real date when my son left this earth.

My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  His official End of Watch is May 19th, but he died on the 18th.  You would know that as well if you had seen him.  His body was hooked up to all kinds of machines that were keeping his lungs moving and his heart beating but Davey – the fun, smart, wonderful son, husband, dad, brother and friend  – was gone.  He was already with his Father God.

I am thankful to modern medicine which gave us time to start coming to terms to our new reality.  We had several hours with him in the hospital to figure out how to start to say good-bye.  It helped.

I am thankful that the machines were able to keep his organs alive so that he could fulfill his wish of being an organ donor – giving the gift of life to so many other people.  Our families have been blessed by other organ donors so we know what an important thing this is.  Knowing that helped.

I am thankful for the doctors and nurses who treated Davey with care and respect.  They also were very helpful and understanding to those of us who spent the darkest hours of that night in room next to Davey in unbelief of what was happening.  It helped.

I am thankful for the rooms full of police officers and friends at the hospital who prayed for us and supported us through those awful hours.  It helped.

daves-squadI am thankful for the family and friends all over the country who prayed for us through that night.   I am thankful for all of the people who prayed for us and didn’t even know us.   It helped.

I am thankful for Dave’s squad who, disregarding their own pain, had the worst job of making telephone calls and getting us to the hospital.   I am also  thankful for the Employee Assistance Unit led by Sgt. Dave Osborne.   Both of these teams promised support and they meant it.   It really helped.

I am thankful for the entire Phoenix Police Department who supported us that night any way they possibly us in any way they could.   They parked our cars so we could run right into the hospital, they brought food, they picked up family at the airport, they took care of the press, they drove us home, they never left their watch on Dave’s room and much more.  It all helped.

I am thankful for Pastor Mark Grochoki, one of our pastors at the time, who somehow found a way through the crowds and lines of police to pray for us in a small, dark corner of the hospital lobby.  It was an oasis of peace in a very long, terrible night.  It helped.

I am thankful for the Police Chaplain, Bob Fesmire, who is so clearly called by God to walk families like ours through the most painful hours of our lives. His words of wisdom cut through the shock and helped us move forward.  He prayed for us through the night when we had no words.  I will never forget his prayer as we said our last goodbyes to Davey before leaving the hospital.  I don’t recall the exact words but I remember God reaching out through them to wrap his arms around me to comfort me.  Bob was God with skin on that night.  He really helped.

May 19 is Dave’s official E.O.W but May 18th was his last day on earth.  Now he lives in our hearts and our memories until we see him again in heaven.

I’m not saying that we need to change the date on all the plaques and forms.

I just wanted you to understand why I always use May 18th.

Miss you, Davey.

Love you.

Love You

Two simple little words –

that are not simple

and they have had a huge impact on my life these last 4 1/2 years.

I have learned a lot about love since David Glasser, my son who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty May 18, 2016.  I knew Davey always said “love you’ to me instead of good-bye but I didn’t realize until I heard it at his funeral that he did this with everybody in his life that he cared about.  He made sure the other cops in his squad said ‘love you’ to each other before leaving on a call.  He knew how close they were –  and still are –  to not coming back.  Just like he didn’t come back.

I’ve been on this planet for a while and I have loved others and been loved by others my entire life.  But I never really understood the enormous power love has – until after Davey’s death.  Love has transformed my tragedy into a growing season.  It forced me to leave bitterness and anger behind – those emotions don’t fit when love is the focus.  And it has helped me be thankful for what I had and for what I still have.  Love has helped fill some of the huge hole created by the loss of Davey and it continues to cushion the rest so its possible to move forward.

Love is not simple.

Loving people who aren’t perfect and aren’t like us is not easy.

Loving people we don’t know or don’t like feels weird at first.

‘Love you’ is a commitment.  It means I always want the best for you even if that will cause me to sacrifice something on my end.

It means that I’m on your team.  I will care for you, defend you, pray for you and be here for you – always.

‘Love you’ says ‘You’re important to me’.  It says ‘ You’re valuable to me’.  It says ‘I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt when you’re wrong or grumpy or just not very lovable.’  It says “I’m going to come up with as many excuses for your behavior as I do for my own.’

Sometimes I say ‘Love you’ to people I don’t know well or don’t know at all.  This ‘Love you’ says ‘I recognize you as a good person and I’m glad we’re sharing this place or this moment together. ‘ ‘

I have discovered that this over-all ‘Love you’ culture is much more powerful than it sounds.  It’s not just words.  It’s not superficial when we also act like we ‘love you’ to the people around us.  When the people around me – whether I know them or not – are important to me, the air changes around us.  The mood is different.  I can feel the acceptance and caring – not just of me but for each other.  God blesses this love with a supernatural goodness because this is what he wants – he wants us to love him and love each other.

A note to my Blue Family – loving each other and saying it regularly puts a band of steel under the Thin Blue Line.  Love adds a strength to our relationships that you will not understand until you try it.  Our Blue family needs this strength to deal with our reality.

Love is the legacy that Davey left with us.  He knew how essential love is for all of us and he made sure we told each other – regularly – at least every time we left each other.

I’m amazed at how much making ‘Love you’ a habit has changed my world.  And I know this habit has changed many of us who knew Davey.

If you haven’t gotten on the ‘Love you’ train yet, this is your invitation to jump on.  It’s a train filled with people who care about other people, whether they know them or not.  These people have felt the magic these two words have when shared openly and regularly.  Let love change your world.

“Love you” are the last words Davey said to those of us who knew him.  These words and the love attached to them echo in our minds and hearts whenever we think of him.  What a special gift.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

 

The Most Difficult Time of the Year

Each day, as we get closer to Christmas, the hole in my heart grows a little bigger,

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, Katie, 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 four granddarlings are at the top of that list.  They are so precious and they distract me from thinking about who is NOT here.

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.  The painful grief I feel 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.

My heartache also reminds me that you and I 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.  We need it.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

Irreplaceable

I can’t believe it!

My wedding ring had a loose stone so a major jewelry store sent it in to be fixed.

And my ring disappeared.

Somewhere between the jewelry store and the shop that fixes jewelry, my ring along with a whole box of other people’s jewelry was stolen.  Gone!

For almost 40 years, my husband I have had an ‘every 5 years’ anniversary tradition of changing or adding something to my ring.  This made my ring very unique with a lot of sentimental memories attached to it.  Four years ago we added blue sapphires to my ring after our son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.  It’s the only piece of jewelry I usually wear other than Davey’s memorial bracelet.

This ring was precious to me so I never took it off.  I didn’t want to lose it.

Now the jewelry store lost it.  Unbelievable!

Of course I cried.  So much has been lost and now I’m adding my ring to that list.  The jewelry store is doing their best to replace it with something comparable.  But it’s irreplaceable.

Well, on second thought, my perspective has really changed on what is irreplaceable.  There is a new standard in my mind that I measure  everything here on earth by to determine whether it’s irreplaceable.  And my ring actually ends up really low on that list.

Because, at the top of the irreplaceable list is my son, Davey.  In an instant, he was gone.  He went to work one day and never came back.  And he is truly irreplaceable.  He defines irreplaceable.  He was such a huge personality and special.  Nothing and no one can fill the hole he left on this earth.

When I think about it, it’s people in my life who are irreplaceable.  None of the ‘stuff’ in life means much when it’s stacked up against the people that mean the most to me.

One of the things I value about my relationship with God is that he has promised that nothing could make him stop loving me.  NothingEver.  I don’t have to be concerned about ever losing my relationship with him.  My life is built on the Solid Rock.  I might lose everything else, but not God.

Having this new standard of irreplaceable has helped me focus on the most precious things in my life – my relationship with God and with people.  It has helped me put ‘stuff’ and possessions in the right place on my list of what is important – at the bottom.  It has helped me be okay with losing my ring.  It was just a thing.  It is replaceable.

Because I now clearly understand what is truly irreplaceable.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

My Quadruple Whammy

This will be my fifth Christmas without my son, David Glasser.

He was a Phoenix Police Officer killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.

Many people told me the first Christmas after Davey’s death was going to be the worst.  And it was bad.  So I was hoping that what people told me was true and the coming years would be better.  It surprised me a little when the second Christmas was just as tough if not a even more painful as the permanence of the situation started to become a reality.  The permanence of the pain became increasingly real during the 3rd and the 4th years of experiencing the hole where Davey should have been.

This will my fifth Christmas without Davey – and it’s happening again.  It’s my Quadruple Whammy.

One punch, two punches, three punches and then – the final punch.

The first punch is Davey’s son, Micah’s birthday in the beginning of November.  I still don’t want to believe that Davey will never be at any of Micah’s birthdays, graduations, wedding, or hold his grandchildren.  We have all lost so much.

Next comes Davey’s birthday a couple of weeks after Micah’s.  Great memories laced with the pain.  He should have had 60 more birthdays.  We have been robbed.

The third punch is Thanksgiving.  There are times when I struggle to say, “Happy Thanksgiving” to people.  For me, it’s compounded by the fact that my father died on Thanksgiving 42 years ago.  I ride an emotional roller coaster up and down during November.

And then the final whammy – Christmas.  So many great Christmas’ with Davey!  He was a light in my life and now it’s hard to ignore the darkness.  So I focus on how grateful I am for the birth of God’s son, Jesus, my Savior.  Jesus is the light of the world and the hope he gives me lights up the dark places in my life.

I’ll just say this right out loud for me and for people like me – I’ll be glad when New Years Eve is over and another holiday season is past.  I feel pretty beat up by the time January rolls around.

People like me are called Survivors.  I’ve spent almost 5 years so far learning just how much surviving goes into this.  Every year, we have to ‘survive’ the holidays and birthdays and other special days.  We never know when something is going to reach out of a perfectly normal celebration and punch us in the gut.  It comes out of nowhere and spins us into the dark hole of pain we had hoped we left behind.

You have heard this from me before and you are hearing it again because it’s still true.  I have discovered that the best way for me to survive and deal with the whammies is to focus on all the good I had in my life before Davey was killed and all the good I still have.  When I focus on all I have lost, the pain intensifies.

I have also decided to get as close to God as I can and he comforts me each time my heart breaks a little more.

Because my quadruple whammy is not going away.  It happens every year.

Miss you, Davey.  Love you.

#8144loveyou

My Roller Coaster Ride

It has been hard to be thankful these last 4 1/2 years.  My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  This has been the most difficult time of my life.  There has been so much pain and sorrow.

So many tears.

Did you catch it?  Last week I blogged that I was thankful and this week I’m saying it’s hard to be thankful.  Am I confused?  No.  Many of us who have survived a tragedy live on this roller coaster of grief.  Good days, bad days.  Good old memories, recent memories with somebody very important to me missing.  Smiling one minute, tears running down my face the next. Thankful, then not feeling so thankful.

It’s hard to be thankful when there is this huge hole in my life where my son, Davey, used to be.

Smiling, joking, making plans – he brought his own unique light into my world.  He was great at adding new, fun people into our lives.  He always had room for one more – or ten more – friends in his life.

It’s hard to be thankful when I see how our culture is treating my Brothers and Sisters in Blue.

Hunting you down.

It feels like all the crazies of the world have been let loose on one target – and that target wears blue.

Evil keeps crawling out of the smelly, rotten holes it was hiding in – showing us all again why we so desperately need our Family in Blue to stand up for what’s right.bless-our-police

And then it becomes even harder to be thankful when I think of the families, friends and co-workers of all of our fallen brothers and sisters.

I’ve been there.

I am there.

It’s not a place you ever want to be.

And the number of us is growing quickly.  Much too quickly.  The dark cloud of sadness is moving over more and more of our Blue Family.

Every news report of every fallen officer brings it all back.

That night.

The shock.

The grief.

The nightmare.

The horrible reality.

But….

then…… here comes the roller coaster ride….

when I think about the very special gift I was given 39 years ago,

it’s very hard not to be thankful.

When I focus on the over-34-years that I was blessed to have Davey in my life, its hard not to smile.

And I’m thankful for every minute.  

I’m thankful to my Father God who has been walking closely beside me through this dark time – comforting me and drawing me closer to him.

I’m also thankful for our many family members and friends who have loved us and cared for us and are still praying for us today.  We share awesome memories of Davey.

daves-squadI’m very thankful for our Family in Blue who continues to show up and care for us and pray for us.   We share awesome memories of Davey as well and, together, we are strong enough to face tomorrow.

Together, we can be thankful for what we had…

and what we still have…..

on this weekend of Thanksgiving.

Love you!

Miss you , Davey.

#8144loveyou