DENVER — As she poured through photographs stored in a small box, Kathleen Gordon-Callbeck got a little emotional.
"I actually had to put them away for a while," she said. "I couldn't stop crying."
Gordon-Callbeck was reminiscing about the time she and her then-husband lived next door to Don and Mik Messina, brothers who had formed a band called Brethren Fast.
Gordon Beesley was the drummer who would later leave the band and become an Arvada police officer.
"We all used to hang out in the front yard and in the back yard having barbecues," Gordon-Callbeck said. "We went river rafting in Durango and enjoyed a crabfest before the band performed in 1997."
She said her then-husband repaired the band member's vehicles.
Gordon-Callbeck says she spoke with Beesley by phone on Monday afternoon and is haunted by what happened to him not long after their conversation.
"I hadn't spoken to him since 1998, roughly," she said.
The Denver woman added that she and Beesley reconnected on social media last year and that she texted him recently after learning that a mutual friend, former band member Mik Messina, had fallen ill.
"We texted about going to visit Mik," she said.
"He called me from work Monday, and we agreed to visit Mik Wednesday," she said. "I didn't know he was a police officer until he told me."
"He said it with a lot of pride," she added. "He was very happy about his life, his kids, his wife. His life sounded great, and I was so happy for him."
Gordon-Callbeck said they had a good conversation and that Beesley suddenly said, "Kat, I'm so sorry. I have to go. I've got a call."
"He had an urgent sound in his voice," she said. "I thought 'what a tough job.'"
She said she learned later that night Beesley had been shot and killed shortly after their phone conversation.
She said she can't help but wonder if she was the last person he talked to on his phone.
"It happened the way it happened for some reason," she said, "and that's why I felt it's my responsibility to pass on what a good guy he was and how happy with his life and job."
Gordon-Callbeck said she is now planning to visit Mik by herself and to give him the hug she and Beesley had talked about giving Mik together.
That's the hardest part," she said. "He was a good human being who took time out of his day to call an old friend from years ago just to check on my biopsy results and to talk about our mutual friend who is ill."
She said she will always remember that call and will tell people what a kind soul Beesley was.
"I've been struggling all week about how to express what a good nature he had," Gordon-Callbeck said. "I had done this painting about a helping hand because I like to help people. It just dawned on me today that that describes Gordon Beesley because he was the helping hand."
"If his family wold like it or his co-workers, I would love to give it to them," Gordon-Callbeck said.