Dear Grandma, What I Want You to Know Before You Go

Dear Grandma, What I Want You to Know Before You Go

I love you grandma, and never forget it.
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Sometimes words aren't enough to express what you mean to me. Sometimes I don't know how to say it right; sometimes I don't know how to say it at all. You're too extraordinary of a person to confine to descriptions of my feelings or complimentary adjectives. You deserve to be recognized in more than just words, for words will not do you justice. Memories of you will forever be etched into my heart and soul; but, for the memories I can't share with others I will do my best to honor you with words.

As I have gotten older, I have begun to see a lot of you in me. Sometimes I say something or do something and instantly smile because I know exactly who I got it from. I crave chocolates and desserts a little too often, and I'm pretty sure it has something to do with you and your sweet tooth. When I pull back my hair to put it into a ponytail I see the same little ears you have & feel instantly more beautiful seeing a part of you on me. Every time I wish I was a little taller, I remember how much I love being the petite frame I am because I am just like you. As for the 45 pairs of shoes sitting in my closet, we all know who I got that obsession from.

Let's not forget a few of my favorite things I have inherited from you. When it comes to me being extremely particular and fair, perhaps it has something to do with you counting every single M&M in our snack bags to make sure we all had an equal amount. One of my absolute favorite qualities I learned from you is your firecracker energy. They say "good things come in small packages". I can only hope I embody your determination, wit, intelligence, and optimism throughout my life as gracefully as you have.

Perhaps my favorite quality of all, that I can only hope to learn from you, is your unconditional love and loyalty to those who are most important to you. Your love radiates from within, your smile beams with joy. In the Bible, we are asked to love others with the unconditional love that God has for us, and I have always felt God's love from you. Whether it be a smile, a hug or an "I love you", I always feel and see the love you hold in your heart for me and for others. You wear your heart on your sleeve, and my, what a beautiful heart it is.

It's undeniable that we have a special connection. It's as though God said, "I pick you and you; you two will be soul mates". When we both got sick 5 years ago, as much as it felt (and feels) unfair, I honestly would not be where I am or who I am if I didn't have you fighting by my side. When we would FaceTime from our hospital beds, I was always comforted because I knew someone understood how I felt even though I never spoke of my feelings. There was an unspoken understanding between us and I never would have mentally made it through the years without you by my side, giving me a reason to fight. We have had great days and we have also had some of the worst days of our lives, but we have gotten through them together, hand in hand, side by side. If I could take all the pain and suffering you have ever gone through away from you and carry it for you, I would do it in an instant. Seeing you smile and radiate joy is the most fulfilling thing in my life, so I wake up and fight every day so I can see your smile another time.

You gave me the will to fight, day in and day out. Every time I wake up and prove that my illness is not in charge of my life, I think of you. Because the most beautiful woman in the world taught me that our circumstances do not define us, we define ourselves. When I think of all the amazing accomplishments you have made throughout your lifetime I can't help but beam with pride and hope that I am half the woman you are. You are undoubtedly the bravest, most courageous and strongest woman in the world. You wake up every day with a smile, a goal and a fire within you to fight until you can fight no longer. But, I'm here to tell you, as you have told me, it's okay to not be okay.

I am so thankful that God blessed me with my soul mate & my angel on earth. Never have I met someone with such a pure, authentic and selfless heart. You have made every day of my life brighter and I can only hope to impact someone's life as much as you have impacted mine. Thank you for all the joy, laughter and love you have filled my life with. You forever have my heart.

I love you grandma, and never forget it.

Cover Image Credit: Alex Wilkins' Photo

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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!

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What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

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2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

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5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

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6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

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7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

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8. "Frat" sticker

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9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

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Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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To My Grandfather, Thank You

I am continuously grateful for your ongoing presence in my life.

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Thanksgiving has come and passed, but the third Thursday of each November should not be the only day we show our appreciation and our gratitude to the ones we love the most. As the remainder of the holiday season continues to warm each of our hearts, it is important to look beyond the parties and the presents that come our way. In the midst of enjoying these special times, we must not place the material objects at the forefronts of our minds. Instead, we must share in these moments with the special people in our lives, and celebrate them in the process.

For me, this special person has always been my Papa Carl, and will continue to be for the rest of my life. Since I was a child, my friendship with my grandfather is one that has remained consistent in my greatest of moments and my toughest of times. In a similar sense, not only has it remained consistent, but it has grown into a beautiful lifetime of memories that I hold ever so close to my heart. From celebrating the holidays together, to planning family dinners or simply sitting down at his favorite restaurant for a strong cup of coffee and a great conversation, he and I have developed a lasting bond that I know can never be broken.

My Papa is one of the strongest, most hard-working people I have encountered in my life. He displays an attitude of integrity and independence that I admire endlessly. From his exemplary career as a carpenter to his loving role as a husband, father and grandfather, his strength continuously inspires me to be the best person that I can. As his only grandchild, I strive to make him proud in all that I do and all that I become.

Papa, I love you dearly, and I am so proud to call you my grandfather. I am grateful for your presence not only in this time of thanksgiving and celebration, but within every day of my life.

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