A loss…

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Last month Pramek lost a great student, influence, and friend.

I met Barry Ostean when we were kids.  He was my brother’s best friend.  One of my earliest memories of Barry was driving back from hunting with him and we ran over a skunk.  It was the smelliest ride I have ever had the displeasure of taking.  When we finished driving Barry told me to get a stick and clean out the tires, because, well, he drove.  I didn’t have to actually do it, but he had a great laugh at my 13 year old self holding my nose trying to find a stick while he told me, ‘nope, that’s not good enough.  Find another.’

Decades later Barry came down with a rare form of cancer.  I had not spoken to Barry in years and had no idea he had been buying videos, books, training, and when the cancer prevented him from training himself…he was giving it all to his friends.  My brother called me one night and told me of Barry’s condition, which was grave, and that Barry kept talking about Pramek.  He told me that I needed to call Barry because Barry didn’t want to bother me. He had been studying Pramek but because he was so ill, could no longer do Pramek exercises, and had bed ridden for so long…he didn’t feel like he could have a good conversation about it.  Barry later told me, ‘Well, all that, and I was giving your stuff away for free…I didn’t want you to come down here and Pramek me!’

So, I called Barry and he told me he had been given two weeks to live.  When he could muster the strength, we spent those two weeks on the phone for hours each night.  Life, God, the CLM, guns, how to pick a wife, hunting, meds, reloading, his thoughts on strength in tough times, how to forgive the past…it was some of the deepest, and most difficult conversations I’ve had with someone who never let me hear him sweat the situation.  Sometimes he would pass out from the medications, so I would put the phone on speaker and start typing notes, waiting for him to wake up…he would come to and say, ‘I’m back, and you can quote me on what you’re typing.’

Two weeks became a week, became a few days, and soon he couldn’t talk.  I spent many a night after those conversations upending whiskey, typing notes, and going to sleep praying.

Barry had a strong faith in God and family, America, and our home state of Georgia.  And that faith carried him.

We were fortunate that Barry powered past that sentence…and God gave us all more time with him.

As he went into remission we would call each other and talk about recovery, pain, fear, and how his illness forced him to look at the world differently.  I took so much to heart, as well as his advice on how to paint wheels on my vehicles, distance shooting, and one of our favorite topics…dogs.

But, with the path to Aaru conquered, our dear friend was called home…

Barry was an influence on something I take great pride in. I always wanted Pramek to be something that someone could study even if they couldn’t move.  I now know what I wanted is what it became, I just wish I could have found out a different way.  But, as Ovid wrote, perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim.

You don’t have to put on a Spartan suit to train.
You don’t have to move efficiently to be graceful.
You don’t have to lift weights to carry a heavy load.
You don’t need combat to develop an unbreakable spirit.
You don’t have to have students to be a teacher.

And sometimes, the student becomes the teacher…
as Barry became for me.

One of the last things Barry said to me was, ‘I’m proud of you and what you’ve become.  What you’ve done, I wish I could have done.  Keep doing it, man.  The stuff you do is life-changing.’

I hope in our upcoming works I make Barry proud…

Barry, people won’t know how much you’re missed, bud, but they’ll see your influence in what we do.

Miss you.

– Matt