Father’s Day is always an incredible day for me to reflect on incredible moments I shared with both of my fathers. One (my stepdad), taught me consistency, loyalty, commitment and unconditional love; the other (my biological dad), encouraged me to fly metaphorically, love passionately, dream big and give everything even if I end up with nothing.
Unfortunately, both of them taught me something hard as well. They both spent their lives doing all of the above in addition to raising families, being a spouse and family member. All of this came at a cost, though. While they both lived extraordinary lives, they also left the earth way too young.
The pressure of their work and passion in life took precedence over spending time working on their own health. I was twenty-four when my stepdad passed of a sudden and devastating heart attack. No warning, no doctor’s giving good advice, nada, nothing. He just went one night without warning. The loss was devastating to me as he was more than a stepdad, he was the patriarch and the inspiration for so many. He won Educator of the Year in Washington State the year he passed, for his lifelong contribution.
It was just a short time later that my biological father passed without warning of the same type of heart attack that killed my other dad. This loss almost killed my own spirit because I still needed them both so deeply. I was still finding me, finding my future and paving my own path. But instead of sinking into this, it was as if their loss gave me the motivation to make fitness my lifelong passion. I was determined to share my gift to this world to help more men and women stick around longer and enable them to share this beautiful world with their families longer.
Each time a man walks into my room to workout, I imagine in my head how many days, weeks or years this workout might give that person’s family. What family event will they not miss, what birth of a child will they be present for and what advice will they be able to give those who love them when they turn ninety-five?
Father’s Day no longer brings tears of sadness for what I am missing with these two incredible dads that I had. Rather, it inspires me to build strong healthy men so they can live longer, fight disease in their own bodies and bring more to this beautiful space we share. It assures me that I will always encourage my daughter’s father to move daily, eat well and enjoy all that comes with being a dad to, in my opinion, the greatest kiddo to grace the earth.