A Letter To Terry

Terry, I don’t know how I can get this message to you. 

This year will mark three since you left us. 

And I still can’t seem to shake your presence from my life. 

I know I spoke about this before, in a piece I wrote that was so painful and so cathartic to write.

Yet, every time it’s shared with others, the popularity of it blows up again. 

Such was the impact of you, your life, and your passing on the rest of us. 

I write this to you, being a different man, a different coach, a different father and husband since you passed. 

Terry, admittedly, I’ve wanted to use your story to help others not follow your path. 

How do I express that from a place of love? 

When I coach someone who is struggling to put one foot in front of the other when it comes to reaching their goals, you are almost always the first example that comes to mind. 

When I am working with someone who makes time for everyone else but themselves, I think of you. 

When I see that someone has an overflowing love of life that they are always trying to do for others and constantly forgetting to point the care inwards, I see you.

I know that interventions don’t work the way we think they do and yet, I still want to send that article that I wrote about you to everyone who is struggling. 

And why? 

Because I want them to live long enough to see the fruits of their efforts. 

It’s an unfair statement. 

It assumes that if we had helped you get closer to your goals, that you’d still be alive. 

It assumes that fat loss by a greater measure would have kept you here longer. 

It assumes that you’d still be with your amazing family, that you’d still be able to throw those lavish parties with your friends, that you’d still be training with me and we could talk about the merits of The Smiths and Green Day. 

It’s a faulty belief. 

Because we don’t know for sure if it would have saved you.

We can only make assumptions. 

I look at the work I do now, especially with all that we know about weight loss medications, with the thought of: What if? 

What if we had access to these medications and were utilizing them when you were still alive?

Would it have made the difference?

Then all of those conversations about willpower, and discipline and healthy habits could have been shaped by something that would have had greater influence on your ability to get closer to the weight you wanted to be at. 

I know now that fat loss doesn’t solve every problem.

It only solves certain problems.

Terry, I shared that article with someone who never met you, who struggled like you did, who was willing to give up on themselves and I so desperately didn’t want them to give up. 

Not because of my own gain by keeping them as a client but simply due to the hope that your story would inspire change in others.

In reality, it was only one more reminder that no one changes until they’re ready; a piece of wisdom that I should know quite well from all of the years I was addicted to drugs.

I didn’t change until I was ready. 

Neither does anyone else.

And that’s a hard sell when I’m in the business of inspiring change. 

I write this not because I think this article will perform better than the last.

I doubt that it will. 

I write this because I still miss you.

I still think about you often, I still think we were all cheated out of more time with you and, as unfair as it is, I still hold myself responsible for not being a better coach for you. 

Maybe this article will be a light bulb moment for someone out there. 

Maybe this will be the catalyst for change for someone who needs it.

Oddly enough, losing you made me less aggressive with coaching fat loss for others.

Not because it didn’t interest me but because it taught me to give people more space to do it on their terms.

That if fat loss needs to happen, it needs to happen through autonomy.

That if someone needs to lose weight, they need to spend time making mistakes and learning from them.

Although, I remember saying to you at one point, somewhat exasperated by the direction you were heading, that maybe what I needed to do was just “dare you” to lose weight.

You laughed and said: “You know, that might just work for me.”

I kick myself all the time for not daring you.

Terry, it’s taken me all this time to write more to you. Not because the words and inspiration weren’t there but because I’m mad and I’m sad and I love you and I miss you.

I write these words two weeks from what will be 12 years since my father passed away.

That makes two great men I’m absolutely sick over not having in my life.

It’s a selfish thought.

But, that doesn’t make it any less true.

I’d do most anything to have you both back in this world.

Can I dare you back?