To The Grandpa Who 'Never Met A Stranger,' A Tribute

To The Grandpa Who 'Never Met A Stranger,' A Tribute

Until we meet again, my beautiful guardian angel.

December 3, 2017, Donald Charles Anderson, veteran, son, brother, father, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend, went to heaven after battling lung cancer off and on for the past 10 years. We all knew that the time would be soon, but nothing can prepare you for the loss of a loved one. Absolutely nothing.

I wish I could have made it to the hospital to see him before he passed away, and I wish I could have gathered the strength at the viewing to have shared a memory with the crowd.

He was a family man. He loved his wife, 6 children, 17 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren. He never failed to instill it within each and every one of us that family comes first. Back when my mom, aunt, and four uncles were kids, he worked two jobs and came home afterward to coach Little League, attend wrestling matches, football games, etc.; You name it, he was there. I can confidently speak for my family and say that he was the full package. He was loving, devoted, hardworking, spirited, humorous, and smart! I cannot stress enough how intelligent he was. His mind was sharp up until his very last moments.

My grandfather took me as his own daughter when my father left me. He helped raise me, and will forever hold a special place in my heart. He was the type of man that would do anything he could to help. The love he exhibited for who he would always refer to as “His Bride” was pure and real. He didn’t let a day go by without saying “I love you” to her. He was always thinking about everyone else, even when he was sick in the hospital. I can only hope that someday I will raise the kind of family that he has, because this family is one of a kind, just like he was. His humor, his amazing stories about traveling, his advice, and his support and encouragement will never be forgotten. The memories I have shared with him are indeed special in so many ways.

I remember when I was about 6 or 7 years old I would always sing at the top of the staircase, and he would call me a star even though I couldn’t sing for the life of me.

Before I left for school every day he would stuff newspapers in my backpack so when I opened it to take out my lunch they would all fall out.

When I was a little girl and I would go with him to the store, he would always let me pick out a pack of gum.

He would always freak me out by popping out his dentures when I least expected it.

He did his crossword puzzles every day with a pencil that had been sharpened way too many times.

I will always remember him as the man sipping black coffee out of his train mug who wore the faded blue jeans with his flannel, suspenders and L.L. Bean slippers.

On his 86th birthday, which was just last month, I said to him, “Wow, the big 86 this year Pop!” and he said, “Yeah, I might be old in age but I’m young at heart.”

He was seriously the best. Every time I called home from college and he answered, he would always ask if everything was alright. He cared so much and I am forever thankful for a grandfather who loved me the way he did. What I would do to have one last conversation with him. I’ll always be your little girl.

Until we meet again, my beautiful guardian angel.

Cover Image Credit: Christina Shehata

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Poetry On Odyssey: "Happy Birthday in Heaven, Grandpa"

I Miss You

He walked into my house one foot behind the other

He hugged me and I felt his arms grasp my back as though he had missed me

I grinned at the sweet smell of Hall's cough drops and strong black coffee radiating off of him

"I missed you Johnson. How have you been?" He said with his raspy, smoker's voice

"I'm good papaw," I'd always say.

We laughed so hard we snorted, because he was always cracking jokes

He asked me how I was doing in school, and let me know I get all of my intelligence from him

Then, all of a sudden, he was sick, and in the hospital

Then, in the blink of an eye, he was in heaven watching over me

Oh lord, do I miss him.

His hoarse voice.

His distinctive laugh.

His songs that he would play on his guitar and harmonica

His hugs.

His jokes.

His round glasses that he wore with only one leg, and ducked tape on the other side.

His Harley Davidson Motorcycle's jacket he always wore.

But most of all, him.

Happy Birthday in Heaven Papaw Jerry, Johnson really misses you.

Cover Image Credit: Lexi Parsons

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My Grandparents Are Better Than Yours

If I had to choose which one of my grandmothers would party with me, it would definitely be this one.

Angels sent from the heavens, some of the sweetest people with the sweetest memories, the most amazing humans on this planet — grandparents.

If you ask anyone, they’ll swear that they have the best grandparents. I can say the same because without my grandparents I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I’ve been blessed with four wonderful grandparents. They’re each very different in their own special way, each of them has taught me different life lessons in ways no one could ever imagine. It’s very rare that everyone grows up with all four grandparents, I consider myself lucky in just that aspect.

My grandmothers: one of them is hands down the kindest, sweetest, most humble lady you’ll ever meet. She is the reason for my kindness today. She taught me to treat others the way I would want to be treated.

She engraved in my brain that Jesus loves me, and I say engraved because I could call her right now and before she hangs up she would say, “don’t forget, Jesus loves you”, and that is one of the sweetest things that anyone could ever tell you. I have so many special memories with this woman that I’ll forever cherish. Not to mention, her cooking will knock you off your feet.

My other grandmother is probably the spunkiest, sassiest, most giving woman I know. She is always up for a good time. If I had to choose which one of my grandmothers would party with me, it would definitely be this one.

We have very similar personalities, you can tell we’re related just by the sass. She has taught me to be selfless. She would give a stranger the shirt off her back if she knew they needed it. She might be the sassiest grandmother out there, but she has the biggest heart. She has also taught me to love myself, she has instilled in me that confidence is everything. Her sense of style would make a 25-year-old jealous.

My grandfathers: both of my grandfathers have the kindest hearts around. They’re both so gentle and humble. They’re more similar than different but what they have taught me is different.

One of my grandfathers taught me to forgive. Throughout my life, he has always reminded me to forgive others. He taught me that it’s not worth having hate in my heart over someone else and that everything happens for a reason. He has taught me to always follow my instincts and they’ll never lead me down the wrong path.

My other grandfather has taught me to persevere. He has shown me that no matter what is thrown my way I can overcome anything. His strength is unmeasurable and is always full of wisdom. My memories with these two men are ones that I’ll cherish forever.

When I say that I was blessed with some amazing grandparents, I wasn’t kidding. These four humans have shaped me into the young lady I am today, and I am forever grateful. These four sweet souls will be my best friends forever.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash (Pablo Hermoso)

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