Today was a difficult one for me. One of my favorite people on the planet retired and is relocating north and double dipping with a new department. I can honestly say I had no idea how hard it was going to be for me. Now, I realize how narcissistic that sounds, but I promise that’s not where I’m going.
After spending most of the day trying not to tear up and subsequently monumentally failing as we said our goodbyes after hoisting a couple pints at the local watering hole, I decided to say farewell in the best way I know how. Writing. So, while the majority of you won’t have a blessed clue what in the blue hell I’m referencing through most of this, rest assured you are not the target audience; however, if you’ve ever said “so long” to a good friend, you may relate.
So, here goes…
I first met Beth (not his real name and there’s a pretty funny story associated with it that I shan’t share here) well over 10 years ago. I was working a different assignment and he was working light duty in the same assignment. He announced that he was traveling to New Zealand and even though we’d known each other about a minute and a half, he asked me if there was anything I wanted from New Zealand. Since I didn’t know the New Zealand word for Wahine, I went with wombat.
Yeah, smart guy. Bring me a freakin’ wombat.
And wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what that son of a bitch did. Sure, it was in a can, but I didn’t exactly specify. Point: Beth. I knew from that day forward he and I would get on just fine.
I have a million Beth stories, but I’m not going to share them with you. Because they’re mine. And his. Some I was witness to. Some I just heard about. But they are all awesome.
I had absolutely no idea how much I have come to rely on Beth on a day-to-day basis. He was quite literally the one that kept me sane when I wanted to unabashedly lose my shit. He was the voice of reason (which it frightens me to put in print) in a world gone mad. When everyone else told the emperor he looked lovely, he would say, “Um…I can see your balls. Sir.” And I love him for that.
He was never disrespectful, but often questioned the status quo and, undeservedly in my opinion, got a bit of a bad rap for it. He was one of the people I worked with that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I could depend on without question. He’s a great sounding board. He’s a phenomenal beat partner. He’s one of the most knowledgeable and wisest men I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.
When I say “wise” I mean because he’s old. We have to say that about the elderly, right? Just checking.
It wasn’t until I hugged him tonight, said “Be safe” and “I love you” and he echoed it back that it hit me. When Monday comes, Beth won’t be in lineup.
It was a long ride home.
On the flip side, I know his new move is a great one for him and his family. His new opportunities are going to be incredible and I know with every fiber of my being that he will succeed in his new endeavors. I also know that I will stay in close contact with him and I look forward to visiting him in his new digs.
So, Beth, I want you to know how much I have appreciated the time we were blessed enough to work together. I am a better man for calling you friend and I’m a better cop because I worked with you. God bless you, sir, and may He keep you safe when those goats attack.
I can only pray that someday I am fortunate enough to be someone else’s Beth.
Love you, brother. Be safe. We’ll see you soon.