Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Grandfather and My Friend

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who is reading for your patience. I've been without Internet access for the past two weeks. when I've gotten home, I've been busy with things around the home and with my family. Some of you might remember that my grandfather was in and out of the hospital with fluid build-up around his lung. It was the side effects of a 40 year smoking habit. Lung cancer. Bone cancer. Blood clots. Then, the fluid...twice.

Was. It's over now.

I'm unsure if things that help make sense of things come along for a reason or if it's the ability to look at things and learn from what's around you. Just yesterday, after finally getting some Internet access back while on the drive back from Pennsylvania, Ross Enamait threw this old essay by Henry Rollins on his blog. This morning, I read again and it moved me. I knew what I had to do do.

We all have our ways of dealing with things when life gets stressful. Some smoke. Others drink, often times too much for too long. Or comfort-eat. We like to say that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. That's only half-true. Being passive doesn't make strength. We have to take action. We have to steer away from destructive action. If there was something to keep in mind from this whole situation, I had to find a way of making myself stronger from all of this. There are people who need me.

I didn't work out with a rage that made me weak or injured. Like Pavel says (which, indecently, I read intently before I got the news), good strength training should leave you feeling stronger than when you started. I controlled the anguish, sadness, rage, and despair. I pushed myself carefully to a couple of personal bests. I did it carefully, making sure that what drove me didn't consume me. In the end, I felt better. It's funny how a good sweat can be like a good shower: it has a cleansing quality to it, both for body and soul. Afterwards, things feel lighter. Easier.

The pull-up bar and the iron are my defense. It's my way of purging as much weakness, and therefore illness and disease, out of my body as possible. I have a lot in common with my grandfather: I couldn't imagine my life without being physically strong and active. Strength training has brought a sense that I can get stronger as I get older. I'm far more of a man than I was 21. Louie Simmons and Bob Delmonteque say similar things. I see no reason why I can't improve and get better.
Is it realistic? Maybe, maybe not, but I'm willing to try. I certainly won't hang my head in despair if or when old age fights back. If anything, I'll try to approach with with the same sort of grace that my friend Pierini displays. I know that my training will be there to help me.

Like Henry Rollins, I agree that good strength training is a great friend in so many ways.

Nothing and nobody is perfect. We all have our faults and it's our job to do the best we can with what we have and know. We all have different ways of looking at the world and life. It's all a part of accepting and loving our family for who they were. My grandfather was a great man. He only got better at being a grandfather as he got older. He taught me a lot. He was very encouraging and proud. It was a senseless way to go but I didn't see life through the same mindset that he did. In the end, I can only do what he did: do the best with what I have.


n8tive said...

Justin, My sympathies to you and your family. I feel especially touched by your situation and what you said in your blog, I just lost my mom a month ago.

That is all we can do, make the best choices that we can and be the best person that we can. Keep it coming Justin - you are doing good things.

Jon C (mtguy) said...

Sorry for your loss, I know the feeling of using exercise to release anger,stress or frustraition. Your blog and Ross' always seem to hit home. Thanks

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for your loss Justin. This is life, we are all going to follow our lost ones in a heart beat when our life would come to an end. I hope your doing well after this.

Best wishes

e.sen said...

Justin- I miss him so much, I'm glad you wrote about him, I almost wish I wasn't here at home on Friday but at least I got to see him laughing one last time, reguardless of the fact I saw him after everything. We'll all miss him terrible but it's already getting a little easier for me.
See you soon.

Anonymous said...

Justin, I've been reading and enjoying your blog for a while now but this is my 1st comment. All strength to you at this time of loss. I understand your use of training against the backdrop of such strong emotions as I have been doing the same (my mother has terminal cancer). Keep on doing what you do.


pierini said...

Hi Justin,

I'll say a prayer for the repose of the soul of your grandfather.

What's important for you right now is to feel all the feelings you have because in the depth of the darkness of your sorrow will come the brightness of what life has to offer you - an opportunity to be the best you can in an ultimate tribute to your departed grandfather. And if you believe in heaven, you can look up at the stars in the darkness of the night, knowing that, beyond those stars, is a heaven, and looking down may be your grandfather, ever so proud of his grandson.

Smile back at him and be happy where he is and look forward to the day when you may join him for eternal life together.

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

sorry to hear about your loss dude what a moving post mate really touched me.