Have you ever told an old friend, co-worker or supervisor what you really thought of him or her? Sometimes we wait until it’s too late.
One of my important police mentors, who guided me through the early days in homicide, became a lifelong friend, long into retirement. Sergeant Ray Beck was a class act, dignified, suave, articulate and smart. He loved his job, I loved working with him.
Fast-forward to 2002. Living North Carolina, I hadn’t seen Ray Beck for several years. I knew he had battled on and off with cancer issues. One morning, the phone rang, it was Ray Beck calling from Miami. He struggled to speak, voice raspy, shallow breathing. “Marshall. (pause-cough) Just wanted you to know (pause) you were like (pause) a son to me.” (pause)
“Ray? What’s wrong?”
In a near whisper, he said, “I…I…(pause-cough)…love you.”
Stunned, I choked up. Then burst into tears. I would have headed to Miami the next day but it was too late. Ray had passed. I never relayed the same message back.
Ray Beck was the consummate mentor, having taught me another lesson from his death bed. Today, I have no qualms about sharing my true feelings …