About 10 years ago I lost my dad in a car accident when he was coming home from work. We looked the entire day and couldn’t find him. Thankfully, my sister and I didn’t find him, someone else did.
My sister and I both had unfinished business with our father. He wasn’t abusive. He wasn’t a bad guy. I just don’t think he really knew how to communicate, love, or express his emotions. I honestly think he may have been bordering on being bipolar. I’ll never know for sure. I wish I could turn back the clock to ask some of these questions, but I can’t.
Anyone that’s lost someone abruptly knows exactly what I’m talking about. Being blindsided reminds you of the finality of death. There’s no going back. There’s no “I wish I would have done this.” I remember not answering his phone call a couple days before it happened because I was busy. Growing up, my dad didn’t make much time for me, so as I got older, I started to push off some of his time. Childish stuff, but it is what it is. I’ve learned an incredible amount from that situation. Life shit.
My grandpa is the one that helped raise me and initially taught me how to lift weights. He's the one that really taught me how to be a man. He lived to be in his 90’s, and I feel extremely blessed to have him in my life for this long.
Not being able to see him during the pandemic resulted in me writing a few letters to him. If I’ve learned anything from the previous situation, I can say that I’ve never held back with letting him know how I feel. I didn’t want to live my life feeling like there was unfinished business.
At his biggest, my grandpa was 6’3 245 lbs. A big construction dude fighting in bars till he was in his 50’s. He’s a WWII vet and an overall bad dude. It’s why I have his dad, Joseph Boone, tattooed on my forearm. Joseph Boone and his uncle Isaiah Boone died in 1936 in a coal mine explosion. Isaiah and Joseph were already teaching my grandfather Frank, how to lift weights. And so, the lineage of weightlifting was passed down. He taught me how to believe in myself. He taught me that I could be big and strong. He taught me pretty much everything.
Dealing with someone you care about being in the hospital during a pandemic is tough. I wrote a letter, took some pictures, and hoped that I wasn’t saying goodbye. I had to be optimistic that I was going to see him again. I wanted to remind him how much we love him and how much he’s meant to me.
I always wanted him to be proud of me. He’s part of the reason why I push as hard as I do. I saw him meet Arnold for the first time. I witnessed him meeting Arnold for the second time and Arnold remembering his name. He almost fucking lost it. For him to experience what he started and to see all of this was unbelievable.
And even though our relationship was completely different, I still wish I would have spent more time sharing how I felt with my father. I know he knows I loved him, and I believe he loved me too, but we never really got in there. That’s just real talk.
Talk to your grandparents, your aunts, your uncles, your parents, your siblings, and your friends. All the people you care about. Let them know that you love them. It's just like a workout, you're never going to come out of the gym and say, I wish I didn't do it.