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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An Open Letter To My Legendary Grandparents

Thanks for being legendary.

When people write these "open letters" I feel like they are for the same people, their mom and dad or their siblings. I, for one, have written an open letter to my parents but I feel as if I need to extend my appreciation to my grandparents. They have played such a huge role in my life and I couldn't ask for more.

Dear Grandma & Grandpa,

I know I don't say this as much as I should, but I want you to know how much I love you. Throughout my life, you two have given me endless love and support and I couldn't thank you more for that. No matter what the situation is, I'm so lucky to have such a strong support system. I know that if I ever need something, I know you will both be there for me. Thank you for always going above and beyond for me and my brothers, you don't know how much we appreciate it.

I know I could never do without your advice about anything and everything possible. If I didn't get advice about school, friends, or any issue I may have, I probably wouldn't be where I am today. I also love hearing the stories from when the both of you were growing up, when my mom was growing up, and my early childhood, I always find enjoyment in those.

Some of my best and most favorite memories are the ones shared with the two of you and I can't wait to share the stories with my own family one day. I am forever grateful for the trips to Florida, the trip to London and Paris, my first time going to Disney World, the holidays, the Starbucks drinks, and more. One of the most cherished memories I have of the two of you is from winter break in Florida in 2016 when you took me and Ben for ice cream, grandma and we walked into the house to find Grandpa dancing to "Dancing Queen" by ABBA and then you joined in. I think that video went viral on social media between my friends and mom's friends. That is one of my most cherished and valued memories because it shows how much you both love music and dancing and having fun.

Thank you for always taking pictures and videos or literally everything you see, asking me for iPhone help, for spoiling me (like any grandparent), adding LOTS and LOTS of entertainment into my life, and for being the most epic and legendary grandparents anyone could ever have. (I'm sure all my friends can agree, you know they love you.) I can probably speak for both boys when I say this but, I am extremely lucky to have you both as my grandparents. From every trip, holiday, phone call, and song we've danced to, I'm so thankful for everything you guys have done for me and with me. I can't wait to make more memories with you when we all head back to New Jersey for the summer!! I love you both more than you will ever know. Thank you for being the best!!

Much Love,


Cover Image Credit: Sydney Eisenberg

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Cancer, You Won't Win This Fight

You're cruel and heartless, but you won't win this time.

Life can be unexpected. It can bring many joyful things and so much happiness, yet it can bring much sorrow and pain.

Right before Christmas, my grandmother was sick, very sick. To the point that she went to the emergency room twice.

One of the times, I had to take her to the hospital at seven in the morning, and that experience was utterly terrifying. To see someone you love so dearly in so much pain and suffering absolutely breaks your heart.

I found out later that day that my grandmother's cancer had returned, and it had spread.

I was angry, distressed and utterly heartbroken. But my grandmother is a fighter and she will keep fighting.

My grandmother is a kind, loving and gentle soul who would do anything for her family and friends.

She has beaten cancer once, and I know in my heart and soul that she can beat it again.

I'm not going to lie — it has been very hard lately; extremely hard. But my family, friends and my grandmother are going to fight this together.

Like I said, she has beaten cancer once, I know she can do it again.

Cancer is cruel; it is a truly evil sickness that has taken many good people's lives. And I pray that someday soon, scientists and doctors will find a cure to end cancer for good.

This way, no other family will have to hear the news that this terrible disease is slowly killing the person that they love.

There are a ton of treatments out there, and chemotherapy is one that can help kill the cancerous cells. But cancer is truly a hard of the hardest battles one can face, and chemotherapy can't cure everything all the time.

Cancer brings out the strength in people; it truly shows how strong of a person you are. It also proves how much support and love can help a person get through a tough time.

Cancer will not win this fight.

To my loving grandmother: keep fighting. You are so strong. You have so many people, including myself, my sisters, my mother, father, aunts and uncles who are also fighting along with you.

You've beaten this once. and I know that you can beat this again. Keep fighting; you have so many people on your side.

I love you so much, and I will see you soon.

Be the warrior that I know you are and keep fighting.

Cover Image Credit: Haylee Olley

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