By Sean Riley
Almost two years ago I received a phone call at 5:00 am advising me that my dear friend and 28-year veteran of law enforcement Terry Marvin had died of a heroin overdose (2016 repost). Of course the cop in me kicked in and I went straight to denial and then I started making phone calls to confirm his death knowing all the while it was true because that’s how addiction works. I’ve seen much negative press written about Terry’s death which is being used from my perception as political fodder to further the agendas of others. I wanted to tell you about Terry and what he meant to me.
Those of you that know me know I’m a pretty blunt person and not politically correct because it’s not who I am. That being said, let’s get it out on the table, cut through the crap and call it for what it is; no need to sugarcoat it because addiction when left untreated usually results in jails, institutions and death!!!
Terry, like myself, was not without fault. Yes, he got into trouble while on the job. Yes, he got a DUI and there were probably other things that went on I have no idea about. I know through my own addiction and dealings with other human beings that many of us have a lot of “baggage” in our closets we keep hidden. Although it’s human nature, our secrets keep us sick. Having said that, who the hell am I to judge his life because I too, am an addict and know I am only one step away from his fate.
I met Terry when he was the director of operations for a treatment center that serves first responders as well as others. At first I didn’t return his calls, but he was persistent. I decided to make the trip to see him and see what he’s all about. He met me at the airport and there he was in his Miami Dolphins jersey waiting to pick me up. I had an immediate connection with him. We were both cops, we both caused a lot of pain for ourselves and others and we were now both committed to helping those that serve.
His smile was infectious and his laid back demeanor was fitting for south Florida, but his dedication towards first responders and getting them help was unmatched. I traveled to several events with Terry and got to know him very well. I tell myself I never saw his death coming or did I? I do this for a living every day, but have given up trying to understand or figure out addiction and how it impacts those that are suffering. Cunning and baffling doesn’t even begin to describe this disease.
Sometimes we just do things that don’t make sense. Terry understood this, too. Both of us were well aware that in order to survive, we live each day as it comes because the disease of addiction is always there to kill us and it kicked his ass in the end. Our job is to share our experience, strength and hope with others so they may have an opportunity for an incredible life.
I sent a lot of first responders to Terry for help and he got them sober and gave them their lives back. I will always be forever grateful for what he did for others and the lives he saved. He was always a good man to me. He never crossed me, followed through on his word and was always there to help. I have absolutely no complaints other than my dear friend is gone. I’m just blessed to know that for a very short time he was in my life.
I knew Terry’s drug of choice was alcohol. How the hell did he get to heroin? That’s like leaping football fields, but with the disease of addiction there is no logic, excuses or explanations for the things we do. It makes no sense to anyone except for those that have been there, done that. I know my friend must have been in great pain and he reverted back to what he knew best. I get what he was feeling, heroin… makes sense to me. Whether it was an accident or a completed suicide, I get it!!!
There were many people that called me up and said they were sorry for me. Don’t be sorry for me, I’m alive… he’s dead. I pray for his family and all those lives that he touched.
I will miss you my dear friend. Even in death you have reminded me again that I’m always just a step away from the grave if I don’t put in the work. To those that are taking shots at you in death… Karma is real. It doesn’t take a big man to sit behind a computer screen and take shots and someone that can’t fight back. Maybe it says more about them than Terry? You were a good man and will always hold a special place in my heart my friend.
Godspeed Terry, may you find peace.
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