What exactly is hope?
It’s been said that we must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope. Rather, that tragedy should be used as a source of strength; no matter what sort of problems, how painful an experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real tragedy.
Sometimes moving forward – even an inch – can make all the difference.
It certainly did for APEMAN Vincent Maier.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Vincent said. “May 9, 2018. This day was a tremendously tragic turning point in my life. By this point I thought I had seen it all, but nothing had prepared me for what was to come.”
Vincent’s significant other, best friend, lover and girlfriend of two years had taken her own life.
“I came home that night, after an argument that morning to be greeted by silence,” he said. “Not only did she die, but a part of me did, too. She was the most beautiful, loyal, caring, compassionate, selfless, and empathetic person I had ever known. We’d stay up until the early mornings just talking. Sharing. Laughing.”
When he lost her, every living part of Vincent was in perpetual agony. He lost everything he loved. Somehow, deep down, he knew the only way he was going to see light again was through perseverance.
“I found support from people at my gym,” Vince said. “People who had been through some devastating things themselves. The only thing that could take the immense pain away – even for a moment – was a hard training session.”
Vincent carried on. Every. Single. Day. He would read the OVERCOME mantra and it would bring a few seconds of solace.
“She’d want me to OVERCOME,” he said. “I trained even on hard days where I’d have eyes full of tears on the way there, but I’d get it done. Those hours at the gym were the only moments where life would be bearable. Wearing APEMAN gave me strength.”
Vince remembers one training session, just a few days after she passed, where he was still in shock. Exhausted. Devastated. Hadn’t slept.
“I did the only thing I knew how to do,” he said. “A friend asked me to get out of the house and train. So I put on my blue and black APEMAN STRONG shirt and headed out the door. I had to still be me. I had to somehow be strong. On no sleep and in complete disarray, we trained. And trained. For three hours. As soon as I finished, and my body couldn’t take any more, I put the bar down and sobbed.”
Rebirth. Overcome. Reckoning. Strong in the Storm. Train Hostile. Powered by Rage.
All of these sayings and phrases were encouraging for Vincent. He’d wear APEMAN shirts every day to get him through.
Through the agony.
“APEMAN embodied what she saw in me,” Vincent said. “She always had belief that I could do more. That I was the strongest person she knew. When she was gone, I knew, in turn, that I needed to do whatever I could to uphold my discipline, integrity and persevere for her.”
If that isn’t APEMAN STRONG, we don’t know what is.