In light of the passing of legendary golfer Arnold Palmer, youthful phenom Jose Fernandez, and even a friend and teammate of mine from high school Michael Altamirano this past weekend, I wanted to take a moment to reflect.
I want to start this by telling you that I understand grief and pain; I’ve experienced a great deal of it myself. I’m never going to understand exactly what you’re going through, but I understand loss. If you ever need someone to talk to, you can always contact Matt or myself here with The 12th Round. I want to tell you that you have to stay strong. Death is a necessary evil. One day we will all be gone and those we leave behind will be sad, hurt, and full of grief. When we feel that loss, it feels like we’ve been hit in the stomach and heart with a sledgehammer. The worst blow you could ever imagine has just been dealt and you don’t know if you can handle it. You can.
You are so much more powerful than you think and this experience will show you that. You need to remember to breathe. Cry as much as you need to, go hit the punching bag and work out those emotions, take a few days off and just lay in bed, do whatever you need to do to grieve. Everyone grieves in different ways and don’t let anyone ever tell you that you’re doing it wrong. Once you realize that you’re down, and you’ve shaken the cobwebs off, it’s time for you to get back up and keep fighting.
Your fight isn’t over so you have to get back up. Take all the time you need, we’re in the corner waiting for you. Your loved one may have lost their fight, but now they’re in your corner too, rooting you on and telling you to get up. Life is too precious for you to waste time on things that don’t matter. I find myself becoming very emotional as I am writing this because I look at my past and think about how my pride still punches me in the gut to this day.
Last year my father decided to take his life after 15 years in prison. He had been released 5 months prior and made this decision a few days after my 29th birthday. I couldn’t bring myself to forgive him for his crimes so I hadn’t spoken to him for years. I figured that, in due time, I’d be able to forgive him, bump into him at a family gathering, maybe give him a hug and even sit down and have a conversation with him. I figured that fate or destiny would bring us back together so that we could mend our relationship as father and son. None of that happened, because I didn’t let it. It’s still hard for me. I still have that lump in my throat, that pain in my stomach, and I sometimes have to remind myself to breathe.
I guess the most important thing that I want to tell you is this; yesterday is gone and tomorrow never comes, all that we have is today. Don’t dwell on your past because it’s done and you can’t change it; learn from your past because it’s what makes you who you are. Don’t worry about the future because it isn’t here yet; prepare and plan for the future so that you’re ready when the time comes. Don’t waste today, seize it. Don’t breathe life into your grudges and your anger or they will consume you from the past. Don’t breathe life into your anxiety about things that may never happen or they will consume you from the future. Breathe life into today, so that you can live a life full of smiles and success. Get back up from that belly buster that life has dealt you, and push forward. Don’t quit – commit, fight back, and win.