After my dad passed I was completely broken. I stopped training, meditating and journaling. Pretty much anything that helped me mentally and physically, I stopped doing. I did nothing except sleep. I was completely depressed.
I think I was more angry at myself for how bad I treated my father. And the fact that I knew I had no chance to make it up to him. No chance to have the relationship I always wish I had. That’s what haunted me, sometimes still to this day.
My girlfriend, Meaghen, finally convinced me to get back into the gym and workout. She knew how much training did for me. It was my medicine.
At the time, I was a personal trainer at a big box gym. I was too scared to workout there because I was too ashamed to see or speak with anyone, like co-workers and my own clients. I was known as the positive guy at the gym. However, I was the complete opposite. I was negative, angry, depressed, sad, and completely lost.
I remember driving one day, about 2 months later, and I just started crying. I started thinking about memories of our family. One memory in specific – our family trips to LA. My dad would drive pretty much 3 full days to get us there. We would pack up the beat up caravan and drive for 3 days to LA to spend the summer there. I loved it because we were all together and it was when I was happiest.
I knew I needed to get the fuck out of the city. I remembered I had a credit for a mobility certification. The day I found out that dad had cancer I was in Toronto for that certification. I left early when my brother, Scott called me crying and told me. It felt like a gunshot went off right beside my ears. The ringing was so loud. I couldn’t believe it. So I left.
I emailed them and informed them of the situation. They emailed me back with a credit. I looked to see when and where the next class was and guess where it was! LA baby. Santa Monica, California. It felt to me like it was a sign.
I immediately called my Meaghen and she told me I needed to go. It was truly a healing place for me. I loved staring out the window feeling so happy. Breathing in the air, staring into the ocean and palm trees meant so much to me. It reminded me of my dad.
So I packed up and went to LA to take the course. I told myself I would make the most of every waking moment. I woke up at 5 am and would drive to the beach most mornings. I would stay there ALL DAY. It was therapy for me. I cried, meditated, journaled, read and trained on the beach. I could honestly feel my dad there with me.
One morning, meditating on my uncles porch. I broke down half way through and couldn’t stop crying. I stood up and walked into the middle of the street. I looked up and stared at a palm tree. I asked my dad for help and for forgiveness. At that moment instead of thinking about all the bad, I started thinking about all that I was grateful for. I snapped a pic of that palm tree and hand wrote grateful and posted it on IG.
Moments later I had so many messages asking me who wrote that. My brother called me and said I needed to make that something. At that moment I knew that the direction of FITPAK would become my mission to share my story and positive messaging to help others out there going through the same thing.
The daily act of gratitude that I practiced, every morning and night, SAVED MY LIFE. It rewired my brain to look for the positive in every situation. It helped me to not focus on not the fact that my father was gone, but that I shared all of the beautiful memories and experiences with him. Those memories would be with me, forever.
And that’s where it all began. How grateful was born. Now our forever mantra.
I am grateful for you dad. Thank you for all the love and courage you had for our family.
I love you. I miss you. Rest in paradise.
Stephen Albert Ramos