Gee Mail

All that stuff that the grandparents forward….

The Last Sunrise

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I started this blog about 5 years ago to solve an email problem. When my mom and dad began using email at the end of the last century, I began filing the  humorous or more interesting tidbits in a mail folder for viewing later.

Fast forward a decade; My mail folder is filled with email I have not looked at….well…. since I filed it.  So I decided I would start a blog as a public repository for all of that email that my folks forward to me.  It allowed me to cut down my filed mail and to have a more public record of the email in the future. Many people get these same emails I do with the countless unremoved forwards in them. I imagined it might be neat in 10 years to go back and see them.  Some of them are internet classics.  Others are interesting political or newsworthy items.

So the Gee Mail blog was born in 2009. As my dad and mom would forward emails, usually a couple a day, I would move them onto the blog. I began cleaning out the old emails I had filed as well and moving them to this space.

5 years later it has 850 posts and over 81,000 visitors. It is very tiny in the blogosphere, but nonetheless it has served its purpose and clearly others have enjoyed it was well.

On January 15th of this year the main source of these posts, my 74 year old father Robert Scott spent his last day on this earth. I have posted very little since that time. I miss him terribly.

6 years ago when my oldest son had just celebrated his 18th birthday, I began writing a letter to my father to express in detail how grateful I was for his work as a father. After 18 years and four kids I really began to appreciate how hard raising good children is. I wanted to tell my Dad not just that I was grateful and thankful, I had already done that on many occasions, but I wanted to explain in detail the things that God had laid on my heart about why I was thankful for the father he was. Being a good parent in this generation is so difficult. So often the measurement of success is “did they survive”.  I wanted him to know that despite not having an example of his own (his own father was essentially a drunk) that he had left many important lessons and foundational truths embedded in his son, for which I was extremely thankful.

So I began writing a letter, intending to send it on Fathers day. I wrote a few paragraphs and then set it down. Later, I tweaked and wrote some more. As the time approached, I wasn’t quite finished.  I decided I was going to send it later in the summer but I  needed to add a little more. Then I decided I would send it for his birthday. It was time to send it, but “its not quite finished, I will send it next Fathers day”.  And so time passed as it sat on the desktop of my computer.

Jan 15th 2014 my sister calls me with the terrible news that my father has passed. My heart aches for his passing. And then comes the painful moment I realize I never sent the letter. No, No, No!  I wanted him to read it!  I wanted him to know that his effort did not go unnoticed. He will never read it. My heart aches.

I printed the letter intending to read it at my fathers memorial service. The moment never seemed right.

I have decided now to honor my father who is partially responsible for this blog by posting that letter here.  I want to be clear I have told my folks on many occasions I appreciate them as parents and that I love them both. This is not a story about never telling someone you love them.  This is a story of not communicating to the ones you love, that you appreciate and understand the love they poured into you.

Dad,

I wanted to write you a quick note to tell you I a few things that have been on my heart for awhile.

As you know Christopher recently celebrated his 18th birthday. While purely a ceremonial marking of time, it still signals the end of one season of life for him and the beginning of the next. This is also true of our relationship as father/son. While I will never stop being his Dad, we nevertheless are transitioning into a new phase of life. I am sad in many ways of about this season having passed so quickly but excited all at the same time for the things that lie ahead for him. 18 years went by in the blink of an eye. All of this has had me reflecting on those 18 years and realizing the amount of work that goes into raising a son that I truly did not deserve to have.

I say all that to say, I am grateful for you.

I am grateful for teaching me the concept of consistency. As irritating as I thought it was as a child to hear “the same things over and over”, it is nonetheless a key component to being a good parent. Being willing to teach all of the time has been critical in my kid’s upbringing. I am not talking about “nagging”, I am referring to that desire to always want to correct, rebuke, encourage, exhort even when it’s not convenient. It is so easy sometimes to let the potential conflict that might arise from such a moment pass on. But you modeled it so differently from the examples I see today, and for that I am extremely grateful.

I am thankful for teaching me to respect everyone, especially those who are older or in authority. I have worked extremely hard to pass this concept on to my kids. In today’s culture this concept has been turned on its head. It is almost seen as a weakness if you show respect to others. I am very thankful that you taught and modeled this well.

I am grateful for teaching me thankfulness. You modeled always being quick to thanks those who have done something, or provided something for you. I did not realize this until a few years ago, that this trait that I have, that I try and hammer into my kids head, is from you. This quality of one’s character is becoming extinct. I am grateful for it.

I am thankful for your patience. As I child, I can distinctly remember occasions where Mom would get excited about things (not a bad thing) and I can remember wondering to myself “Dad just seems to be so calm and patient ”. I can remember how calming that was at times and how it brings stability to often difficult situations. I know that this trait was passed on. My wife tells me how thankful she is at times for that very quality in me. I am very grateful for it.

I am very thankful for the way in which you modeled kindness. So many examples of this stick out in my mind. Things that I am sure are long since forgotten by you, but for me they were fantastic examples of how we should respond to those in our life.

I am grateful for your model of responsibility. This may not be one of the areas I am perfect in, but it is not for lack of a great model in this. This is an area that is so neglected by parents today, I want to make sure you understand how grateful I am for your attitude and desire to be a responsible parent.

I am incredibly grateful for your model of a husband. I am thankful that you love Mom and you show it and have showed it since I can remember. I can’t tell you the importance of this trait, whether you have ever stopped to consider how valuable this is to raising men who will be successful in their own marriages. I am glad you have never said derogatory things about her, or put her down in any way. You were always and have been always quick to praise and show your appreciation for her. This is one thing that I am grateful for and have not been afraid to let people know. My parents have been happily married for 44 years and are a great example.

I am thankful for your work ethic. I could write pages about this. But it stands on its own. You start, you finish, you are not afraid of hard work. Period. My generation has a hard time with this concept.

I am grateful you participated. I have fond memories of my many things. Things that stick out: I remember sitting in the driveway with a small coffee can filled a quarter of the way up with gasoline, a paint brush and you showing me how to take my bike apart and clean the parts and grease them back up and put it back together. I remember High School baseball games on Saturday at YB and there were some Saturdays you were the only parent there.

I am thankful that I have a Father , though despite not having a great role model of his own, broke the cycle and worked very hard to raise his children to a higher standard. It is not until you have in essence “finished the job” that you realize the effort that goes into bringing up children right in a world that does not place a high value on this and especially works hard to diminish the role of a father in a stable loving home.

I am grateful for your “active” parenting. “Passive “ parenting by my definition is those who are content to have their kids still alive at 18 when they leave. They deem themselves successful if they have achieved this goal. After living and being surrounded by people who engage in passive parenting these last 18 years, I am grateful all the more for you. There are so many families that have crossed our paths and that are in our lives right now that simply see their kids as something to be endured rather than the blessing that they are. I am thankful your were an “active” parent .

I have wanted to write this to you for awhile. I want you to know how thankful I am to have such a wonderful father who, whether you are aware of it or not, modeled many biblical parenting values. Your commitment to being a good father has now not only broken a chain, but I know now that Christopher will begin to pass these things on to his children a few years from now, which is impact to a 3rd generation already. Thankfully I have at least another 8-10 years of kids in my house. So my job is not finished. And even then it is not complete, it just changes shape, it transforms into a different role with new responsibilities.

I just want you to know and understand the thankfulness I have for your commitment as a father. This is not a letter in any way diminishes or takes away from the role that mom played. I just wanted you to know the things that God has placed on my heart to tell you. God was gracious, and did not follow through with the curse that Mom placed on me so many times. “I hope you have a son that turns out just like you!!” 😉 Thankfully that did not happen! My kids are amazing, and I have been blessed to be able to spend the time I have with them. And now I can say in large part to you, thanks that they will be equipped to pass these things down to their children.

Thanks Dad!

Love,

Brian

It aches to read it again as I pasted it.

My parents were getting ready to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this May. My dad was so excited for the party. He had done much of the party preparation. My wife and I were buying the invitations as our gift to them for their party. Our last conversation was about the party invitations. I can still hear the excitement in his voice.

I walked into my office January 15th at 7:30 am and looked out the window and the sun was just coming up in the east.  My office has a view of downtown Austin.  I love sunsets and sunrises. As my family will attest, I take far too many pictures of them. I took a few pictures. After 27,147 previous sunrises, this would be my Fathers last sunrise.

Sunrise Jan 15th, 2014

Sunrise Jan 15th, 2014

My fathers legacy lives in all of the people he touched in 74 years.  There are not many men like him anymore in this world. Men who do whats right, because its right. Men who are unafraid to speak the truth and then live that same truth.  Men whose walk matches their talk.

My father was born at the beginning of World War II in 1939. He grew up in a small town in Ohio. He later attended Ohio State University briefly before moving to the Bay Area around the age of 20. He then entered the military and served in the Air Force in Arizona. After serving his country in the Air Force, he married a beautiful young woman from Los Angeles and started a family in the Bay Area. He and my mom raised three children. He attended and completed his education at San Jose State University.  In the mid 1980’s he moved his family of teenagers to Austin, Texas. He then retired after more than 30 years at Lockheed Martin in the mid 90’s and moved to Carson City Nevada until his passing this year.

Dad, I miss you, but know that you are going to live in many generations to come because of the man that you were.

Love,

Brian

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One thought on “The Last Sunrise

  1. Reblogged this on brain walk and commented:

    Its been 2 years..

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