Whatever your profession, you are fortunate if you have found a mentor who has become a friend as well. That happened for me several years ago, when I became acquainted with Terry Brock, a renowned marketing and technology expert based in Orlando, Florida.
Fortunately for me, Terry travels to Atlanta quite often on business, and includes a visit to his brother in Jefferson, Georgia, near my office location in Gainesville, Georgia. So Terry and I coordinate our schedules whenever he heads this way. He visits my office, and generously shares his ideas about the latest technology developments and marketing strategies.
Usually, we include some social time at a fine restaurant–as the photo above illustrates. In fact, a mutual friend took the photo at an Atlanta restaurant, where numerous friends and admirers threw a surprise party for Terry. We applauded his many accomplishments, and shared stories about his almost legendary availability to assist his colleagues.
So when I learned that Terry’s father had died, I grieved for my friend’s loss. While sending the announcement, Terry shared his deep and highly personal thoughts about his father, going back to Terry’s childhood experiences of decades ago. Reading Terry’s loving memorial, I remembered my own desolate thoughts when my father left this earth in 1976.
When I finished reading Terry’s description of how his relationship with his father taught him several valuable life lessons, I knew I wanted to pass along Terry’s memoir to my blog readers. Because Terry hoped his words might help others who are enduring a family loss, he kindly granted permission. So here are Terry Brock’s highly motivational memories of his father:
“In Memory of Charles Brock, 8 Aug 1928-2 Aug 2010”
As I type this it is Sunday 1 August 2010. Charles Brock, my father, is still alive—barely. The wonderful nursing staff at the rest home where he has been for the past 4 years has told me and the rest of my family that they don’t think our father has much longer to live.
Charles Brock was my father. He was born on 8 August 1928. On 8-8-08 (August 8, 2008) he turned 80. This is interesting as the Chinese consider the number 8 to be lucky, even related to making lots of money. Yet, Charles Brock did not have a life of a lot of money. Oh, he worked very hard. I remember as a child how he would work two jobs. One was in a factory from 11 pm till 7 am, and the other driving a school bus in the morning and the afternoon. He worked hard to earn money and provide a little better living for his wife and his three kids. I was the first-born of those three kids.
Charles Brock was a man who believed in hard work. Whether it was at his two jobs or at household chores, he gave it his all. His enthusiasm and determination to get the job done were his hallmark — and sometimes his downfall — as strengths taken to an extreme can be. When others are offended and hurt because of the “push” to get things done, problems can arise.
Yes, he made mistakes. He was not perfect. Yet, he did many, many good things in his life. I remember when he would take me to an event in Northern Michigan near Kalkaska during the summers. It was a religious gathering for the church we attended many years. The event was called “The Northmen.” It was held out in the middle of nowhere. No electricity was used save for the generator which provided lighting under the big circus tent they rented to house the meetings for the event. Those attending camped out in the wild breathing clean air, cooking meals over campfires and enjoying the smells of makeshift latrines. ☺
For this little boy who was wide-eyed and absorbing new information from any way he could grab it, this was a great experience! I loved hearing the preachers with their “hell fire and damnation” messages. They seemed to know what they were talking about. They commanded the respect of the men (yes, only men) in the audience. And they received numerous, hearty chants of “Amen” from the devoted followers in the audience.
For me, it planted a seed to want to speak to others. I could see myself on a stage speaking and sharing. Yes, that is what I wanted to do when I grew up.
Well, today I’m a full-time professional speaker. I’ve been doing it for almost 30 years now. I have earned the designation of Certified Speaking Professional from the prestigious National Speakers Association. Recently I was given the lifetime achievement award of being inducted into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame by that same organization. I am most honored to be in that group and I have to thank my father for planting the seed long ago.
I mention what has happened in my life with deep gratitude to my father. Without the encouragement and direction from Charles Brock, I would not be where I am today. His devotion to take me to the Northmen year after year helped spark that desire for speaking in me. That inspiration has helped me to speak to audiences around the world today.
Thank you, Dad.
He also got me, as well as my brother and sister, to get involved in a swimming class. He felt this would be something that would be good to know throughout life. And yes, to this day, I’m using those skills of swimming I learned in Clarklake, Michigan to exercise and stay healthy.
Thank you, Dad.
He got us involved in Kodokan Judo. He felt that the skills we would learn from Judo would serve us more than participating in baseball, football or other high school sports. Well, the Judo training helped me to teach others about it and make some extra money to put myself through undergraduate school. It also gave me the discipline to get through many other challenges in life.
Thank you, Dad.
No, Charlie Brock was not perfect. He was a human being who made mistakes. Yet he also did many things that are praise-worthy. I guess we’d have to say that he was a human being —- warts and all.
Today, as I looked at the shell of a man lying in a bed dieing, I was able to tell him once again that I loved him and appreciated all he did to make my life what it is today. Did he hear me? Well, I don’t know. I’ll leave it up to the psychologists, the psychiatrists, the medical professionals and others to decide if he could understand my words to him as he looked at me with his eyes open today. Yes, when I asked, “If you can hear and understand me, Dad, please blink,” I saw him blink. Was i imagining it? Could he somehow, somewhere deep inside that Alzheimer-racked brain understand that his first-born son loved him and appreciated all he had done? Well, I don’t know. The older I get, the more I seem to be saying that phrase — “I don’t know.”
What I do know is that I love this man. I always will. He might not have been perfect but he was my father. He loved me in his own way. He helped me in many ways to become who I am today.
I’ll miss you terribly, Dad. Even as I type this, tears and sobbing are overwhelming me. And in the midst of the tears flowing like they haven’t since I was a small child, I feel forgiving and cleansing coming over my being. Charles Brock, you were my father. You raised me and did what you thought was right. For that, I thank you and I love you.
I will miss you and remember your good all my life. Rest in peace, Dad.
Final Note: Charles Brock passed away Monday, 2 August 2010 at 9:06 am Eastern
Charles Brock, 8 August 1928 – 2 August 2010
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