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Ken: Jason Holzer is a certified teacher and thought coach, accomplished basketball coach, and elite skills trainer. He is also an Amazon Best Selling author, Post-Traumatic growth storyteller, and the Co-Founder of 4D Athletes. Welcome, Jason.
Jason: Howdy Ken thanks for having me on the show today. I appreciate it.
Ken: You’re welcome. All right so how did you come to write the book? How did it come into being?
Jason: Well you know I did basketball camps for a long time. So I traveled across the US. I went to a lot of places some were small enough to drive through. I was driving to eastern Ohio, almost like the border of Pennsylvania. I like to drive without any radio on sometimes just in pure silence. I have two kids I’m a teacher, so there is always a lot of noise. So sometimes it is just nice to be where there is nothing going on. I’m a man of faith and I believe in spirituality. As I was in that quiet place and just being. The word “write” came into my mind. I was unsure of how to process that. I got home and that thought kept nagging at me “write” I was like “huh, Okay.” I told my wife, “I think I’m supposed to write a book.” She was like “you are? about what?” I think God is asking me to write a book about losing my dad to suicide. My wife said really do you know how to do that? I told her I had no clue. I went to college to become a physical education teacher. I work in sports. Nothing in my degree says creative writing or anything like that. A long story short about 18 months later, I ended up; I wrote a book about my story of losing my dad to suicide when I was 17 years old. but I didn’t want to just be that, of the loss, I wanted to be a crescendo of hey how do I get over being left behind. You can still have a great life despite what happened to you.
Ken: Okay so tell us more about the book
Jason: Yeah sure it’s a first-person narrative of what I went through. So that when you read it you feel like you are in my shoes. Everybody processes grief and loss differently. but I wanted to give people an experience of what I personally went through. Knowing that hopefully, people will feel similar things. Everyone’s experiences will be different but sometimes emotions can be relatable. That was my goal. But then the second part of that I talked about things like self-love, things like building great habits, Things like forgiveness, and how to heal yourself. how would I heal myself from the trauma in order to find my identity? So that I could find my vision in order to let go of these negative emotions of anger, resentment, These were things that I harbored inside. To be able to move on. To learn how to get past some of the most difficult times in your life. To see a positive, optimistic future and believe that things will get better. I will be able to smile again, there is a rainbow at the end of the storm. So the second part of that is the healing piece of it.
Ken: share with us what happened?
Jason; It was spring of 2003. I was a JR in High School. I woke up the morning of May 8th and my dad was gone already I was thinking he had already gone to work. I walked into my living room and my mom was there and over the top upset. but she complained about it and just said she had a stomach ache. Then she rushed us out of the house. A couple of things felt off initially. I get to school, now that part felt normal, but then about 10 AM they get on the intercom and call me out of class. I go to the office and they tell me my Aunt and Uncle are coming to get us. At that point you know I’m driving I’m 17 yrs old. I am putting the pieces together. I knew I didn’t have an appointment. I was taking a test in the class they called me out of and the teacher had told us you don’t get out of class for anything. The school had to fall down before you get out of taking that test. When the front office was adamant about me having to go in the middle of taking a test. Immediately I felt like something happened. I walked up to the front office and I was like “what is happening? what’s going on?” My Aunt and uncle meet me they said your dad has been in an accident. He was a blue-collar worker, an electrician, so that could have easily happened. They told me hey we’re going to the hospital to be with the family. Then we went to my house instead. The hospital and my house are not in the same direction It is two different turns and they head towards the house. I was too nervous, too scared to say anything “I just sat in the back and thought did my dad die?” I think my dad died today I almost intuitively knew it before I was told. This was one of my first intuitive moments. Where you feel like Huh, At 17 this was my first experience with my dad is gone. When we got home my mom broke the news to us. I went from feeling almost every emotion to feeling numb. I didn’t feel anything. It was emotion overload, I didn’t know how to process everything I was going through. Because of the whirlwind, the questions of why, and honestly the heartbreak of losing him. Not just him dying but him dying by suicide. That just creates a tougher complexity. I asked things like “What was so bad that it made you feel like taking your own life was the best option?” What got so bad, that he felt like him taking his life was the best thing for us.
Ken: One of the lies that we hear when we are in that space is the people we love will be better off without us, right?
Jason: Exactly, Even today this is a question I want to know the answer to Why did he think that was the best option. So that I can understand I just want to know what was so bad. I’ve done a lot of work on myself to get to a place to still finding joy.
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