To the Grandparents Who Were Like My Second Parents

To the Grandparents Who Were Like My Second Parents

It's good that you're up there with God, living your best afterlife.
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Dear Gram(s) and Gramp(s),

I think about y'all every day. I miss you dearly, but I know you're with me on every journey I embark on. I wish y'all were still here, I would talk your ears off about the opportunities I've been granted, the friends I've made, the grades I have, and my future plans. But, I guess you guys can see it from Heaven. It's just not the same though. I see and hear people talk about their grandparents and going to their grandparents' for the weekend. It especially hurts when I see people treat their grandparents like dirt. It's like, they are so blessed to still have their grandparents in their lives. Some of us can't say that. It's hard. Though you all died a few years ago, people think that we should be "over" that sort of thing and we should "be done" grieving. I never knew grieving had an expiration date. I find myself in a daze sometimes just thinking about how y'all would be dealing and reacting to the world today. It's crazy and unbelievable, I'm sad that you all aren't here but I'm glad y'all don't have to be in this crazy world surrounded by these crazy people. It's good that you're up there with God, living your best afterlife.

I've always imagined y'all coming to my college graduation and me just doing all the things I see other people do with their grandparents. It's hard to hear my parents talk about you guys and about how everything was when they were growing up. It's still hard to cope with because whenever something good happens, there's always that one person that says, "grandma(s)/granddad(s) would be so proud of you".

It's my mission to keep making y'all happy, all four of you. This is why I'm committed to living my best life, not only for my parents but for y'all too because I know y'all had a hand in raising me and I refuse to let y'all's hard work go to waste. Sometimes I struggle, but I know y'all are always holding your hands out for me to follow you through the storm. Y'all are my rainbows. Even though I've been through one of the worst things, when I lost y'all, I know God is going to bring me through and I'll be stronger in the end because of y'all.

Love,

Your favorite granddaughter

Cover Image Credit: Blavity

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An Open Letter to the Best Friend I Didn't See Coming

Some people come into your life and change you forever—thanks, bestie.
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Dear best friend,

I wasn't expecting you when God placed you in my life. I had my friends. I had my people. I wasn't exactly open to the idea of new meaningful friendships because I had the ones I needed, and it didn't seem like I really needed anybody new.

Thank God that was false. Sometimes you meet people and you just know that you're going to be good friends with. Sometimes you meet people and you realize that there is no such thing as chance. I think God has a funny way of making it seem as if the things that happen to us are by chance, but honestly, that’s a load of crap. If the biggest moments of our lives were left up to chance, then I believe that would make God out to seem as if he didn’t care. It would make it seem as if He was truly abandoning me and making me face some of my most important seasons fully isolated. But you, best friend, are a true testament to the fact that God doesn’t just leave such important aspects up to chance. Thank you for taking a chance on our friendship, and thank you for allowing me to take a chance on what I didn’t realize would be the most impactful friendship in my entire life.

Thank you for being real with me. Thank you for not sugar coating things. Thank you for telling me when I have a bad attitude. Thank you for loving me through my mistakes. Thank you for supporting me in my decisions, even if it isn’t always the decision you would make. Thank you for wanting the best for me, and for making that your true intent behind the words that you say to me, whether they be constructive criticism or encouragement.

Thank you for being a goof with me. Thank you for putting me first. Thank you for seeing the importance of our friendship. Thank you for making time in your schedule for us to just sit and do homework, eat Mexican food, or sit on the porch and listen to music that emotionally wrecks you.

You’re one of a kind. You’re a shoulder to lean on. You’re a safe place. You’re a free spirit. You’re rough and tough, but your heart melts for the people you love and it’s obvious. You’re more than meets the eye. You are worth getting to know. You are worth loving. You pursue people. You are passionate about your future. You are everything that a person needs, and I really thank God that for some reason you continue to choose to be in my life. Thank you for literally dragging me up my mountains of fear when I want to stay exactly where I am at and wallow in the sadness. You bring joy—true joy—wherever you go. You are my best friend, confidant, and biggest fan. You will be the Maid of Honor, Godmother, and fun Aunt.

I used to think lifelong friendships weren’t really a thing. It just seemed like people always grew apart and forever was never a point that was attainable. Best friends forever is a cliché phrase that is continuously overused nowadays (sometimes, I even used to make light of it), but thanks for making that a reality. You are truly the best friend I could have asked for. So thank you for it all. You make life more fun, and I couldn’t thank God more for making an incredible human, friends with me.

I love you, pal!

JQ

Cover Image Credit: Julia Dee Qualls

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The Lessons I've Learned From The Amazing Grandmas In My Life

A tribute to two women that have molded me into what I am today.

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I have been blessed to have two amazingly strong women as grandmothers and every July when their birthdays come around I reminisce about the times I've had with them and what they've taught me.

1. The importance of religion

Both of my grandmothers are very religious, one being Catholic and the other Lutheran. My Catholic grandmother attends church every Sunday, even if on vacation, prays the rosary every day, and lives in a Catholic nursing home. She has taught me how to be structured and whole-heartedly devoted to my religion and to surround yourself with those of similar values. My Lutheran grandmother is involved in women's groups at her church and attends Catholic mass with us whenever she comes to visit even though that is not her denomination. She has taught me to find friends with a similar faith as your own and to appreciate and support other religions that differ from yours.

2. Strength in times of sorrow

It has been 10 years since both of my grandpas died back in 2008 and I miss them to this day. At my paternal grandfather's funeral, my grandma (his wife) comforted me as I cried. I was astonished that she had the strength and humility to comfort another at her husband's funeral and have always admired her because of it. Now when I experience hardship I think back to that time and try and emulate her strength.

3. Comfort in uncertainty

My maternal grandma is about to turn 95 years old and has suffered from dementia and Alzheimer's, as is common for that age. However, despite not always knowing what exactly is going on around her or whom exactly she is talking to, she has a relaxed attitude. She knows that the people around her love her and she loves them too and that's all that matters. I greatly admire this quality and her faith and comfort in the love our family has for each other. She has taught me to take comfort in uncertainty, knowing that total knowledge isn't required to be joyful.

4. Small acts of kindness

My paternal grandmother lives farther away from my family and often will stay multiple days at our house when she comes to visit. Ever since I was a kid, I've always looked forward to these visits and all of the special treats that come with them. However, the best thing came after she left. Once she was gone, my sister and I would run up to the guest room and look under the pillow to find a note. The notes always thanked us for being such good hosts and detailing how much she enjoyed all that we did together. I've kept every one of these letters through the years and have already planned to do the same with my grandchildren one day. Through these letters, my grandma has taught me that simple, small acts can make for loving memories.

5. Unending love

This last one is mostly the same for every grandmother. Their love is abounding. I have never seen either of my grandmas unoptimistic and the amount of love they have for all the numerous children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren is amazing to see. It's truly astounding that two single women have so many people that admire and look up to them as they do.

Cover Image Credit:

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