A hero and his granddaughter, circa 1984

I want to tell you a few things, about heroes.

Heroes aren’t only found in storybooks; they are real people, flesh and blood.

Heroes are larger than life. They inspire us through their examples; they inspire us to be the best versions of ourselves.

Heroes are selfless. They love deeply, and they protect the people they love.

Heroes guide us. They teach us about the world, and how to find our way through it. And when we are ready, they gently push us to follow the paths that call to our longing hearts.

Heroes wield a courage that awes us. Even when time takes its toll on their bodies and their minds. They fight to stay, to give their loved ones one more day, one more week, one more year.

Heroes give us hope. They teach us about the strength we have in ourselves, even when we don’t see it. When a grown granddaughter holds her grandfather’s aged hand and laughs in delight at a memory – when she was small but sitting tall on his shoulders as he galloped across the lawn – and knows that feeling of invincibility will stay with her always.

Heroes live forever. We take them with us, as we go on through life, telling their stories and using the lessons they’ve taught us.

We sing their songs, we carry their names and their deeds, we hold their memories fast and close. And they live on.

In loving memory of Mel Anderson
March 9, 1932 – August 21, 2016