I can’t believe he’s dead…

I can’t believe he’s dead.


Am I allowed to say dead?  I don’t know the right thing to say.  Passed, deceased, at rest, no longer with us.  All I know is he is one of those.  And that news hit me like a punch to the stomach.  I’m still reeling from it at it’s been almost 12 hours.


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Arlen (Dr.) Snyder

A dear friend and boot camp member is dead.  Arlen Snyder (of our 5:30 pm class), husband of Debbie Snyder (of our 6:30 am class).


He died over the weekend.


I found out when I was just checking in on Debbie as I knew she was out of town.  >


On Apr 15, 2013, at 7:50 AM, <jeremy@talltrainer.com> wrote:
>> Hey Debbie,
>> When do we get you back? How was your training? When does this new job start? So many questions! Hope you are doing well. I look forward to seeing you back in here!
>> The Tall Trainer,
>> Jeremy Biernat


I wasn’t expecting anything major.  I was just checking in.  Then I got a response back that I had to stare at for minutes to try to understand what it clearly said.


>> On my way home now. I took the red eye last night. Chad found Arlen dead at our home. Will be in touch, please pray for us. Love and miss you all. Debbie
> >Sent from my iPhone


What I am going to ask (if you are the praying type) to please pray for them.  They are both such amazing people.  Again, I’m still not REALLY believing this.


As I spend more time thinking about him my first reaction was…


“this SUCKS!!”


“this really really SUCKS!!”


Arlen was an awesome man and at only 76 I imagined 20 more years left in him.  Poor Debbie was out of town.  So not fair to her.  She had to get this news all the way in Arizona so far from home so far from him.


In this flurry of unfair and suckiness one thought pushed it’s way in.  I fought it because I wasn’t ready to think it yet.


I know exactly where this man is right now.  He’s not with us, he is with his Heavenly Father.


(If you aren’t a Christian I am sorry you may not enjoy/understand this)


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Arlen being significantly UN-fuddy dud at our hawaii spring break workout a couple weeks ago.

Arlen would want you to know about God.  He loved God.  And in all my interactions with him he showed it wonderfully.  When I first met him I thought he might be a fuddy dud.  But, oh man was he fun!  And caring!  And generous!


Him and Debbie both are.


They are the ones who let us borrow their big SUV thing for our conference in Washington, DC.  They even insisted under much protest from us to pay the gas.  We didn’t use all the money they gave us so I tried to sneak it back to them by putting it in the glove box.  A couple hours later Arlen drove back to the studio to give us the money again.  I of course protested again saying we used all we needed but he wouldn’t have any of it and I could tell I was not going to win this.


He loved giving and taking care of people.


Bo was reflecting today about all the fun, energy, and encouragement he had for the 5:30 pm boot camp.


Bo shared some of the last words he had with Arlen.


He told Bo a story the he read online or in a newspaper Bo didn’t know which.  It was a story about a world famous pianist.  They were interviewing him and he told the reporter, if I miss one day of practice I can tell.  If I miss two days of practice the critics can tell.  If I miss three days of practice the whole world can tell.


Arlen said, “you should use that in boot camp!”


He was always finding new things to help inspire people.  He’s right.  It can apply to boot camp.  If you miss one day of exercise, you can tell.  If you miss two days, your spouse can probably tell.  If you miss too many days the whole world will be able to tell.


If you didn’t know Arlen I am sorry for you.  He was a great guy to know.  If you did know Arlen well I guess I’m sorry for us too since now we know what we are missing.


In a moment like this it gives me perspective.  Sometimes I get so caught up in the flow of life that I don’t realize life is going by.

We aren’t guaranteed a single moment.


And I cannot guarantee that exercise will help you live longer.  (and since Arlen has been active his whole life I don’t know what extra time it may have given him)


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Arlen and the 5:30 class

What I can guarantee is that exercise and good nutrition can help you live better, happier, healthier.  Arlen enjoyed the benefits of exercise.  He LOVED working out with his group.  And when we had to tell them today it was clear they LOVED working out with him.


If I could some how wrap this up it would be with 3 statements that I think Arlen would want you do know.


  • Love God
  • Love His people
  • Make sure you enjoy life WHILE it’s happening.


If you can get to a phone, call a loved one.  If they are in the house with you, step away from the computer and give them a hug.  Spend some quality time with them.  You don’t know when your next or last opportunity will be.  Turn off the forgettable TV.  Pray for Debbie and their family (pray for those in Boston while you’re at it).  Spend some time talking, playing, and really living.


I have no idea if I just said something terrible by writing this or not, but it was on my heart and I suppose is a version of therapy for me.


If you have any encouragement for Debbie or great Arlen stories.  OR just a reaction please share it in a comment so we can all benefit.


I care about you all so much.


God Bless,

Jeremy Biernat




P.S.  This still sucks.



Posted in Life Without Walls by talltrainer | 14 Comments


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