Derek Vandiver

Many of you do not know Derek. To be honest, I didn't know him extremely well but that would not prevent me from calling him a friend. I met Derek while waiting tables and going to University in Orlando. He was a "know it all" but he did know a lot about a lot. He loved being around people, a good drink, poker and skateboarding. 

I need to be vunerable for a minute, there isn't a week that goes by that I don't think of Derek. I think often about how his death caught me by surprise. I think often of my own death and if I'll be around to see my kids grow up. It's something that I'm really struggling with at the moment. Hell, I'm even getting emotional writing this and it has taken me over a year to finish writing this blog post. I know we have all been touched by death of someone we knew closely but this time it was a little different for me. It has been the catalyst of my mantra in 2018 for me. It is to cultivate and rebuild relationships with people. 

If you know someone who is struggling with depression please befriend them, walk with them through it and become a pillar of support for them. Depression sucks and it seeks everyone.  

Don't let social media be a scape goat for why you don't more. 


Derek was a great dude and I'm pretty sure his untimely death will always linger around in my head.  

VANDIVER Derek Seth Vandiver was born on August 4, 1978 in Brunswick, Maine, to Harold Kris and Beatrice Peake Vandiver. Derek passed away on Saturday, March 25, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. Derek grew up in Orlando, Florida where he attended elementary and middle school, and after moving to Orange Park, Florida, he graduated from Orange Park High School. Derek enjoyed working in the restaurant industry including the Cheesecake Factory in Orlando, Seasons 52 in Jacksonville, and 11 South Bistro in Jacksonville Beach. Derek is predeceased by his Maternal Grandparents, Commander/USN Stanley and Mrs. Beatrice Peake, Orlando, Florida and his Paternal Grandparents, Master Gunnery Sargent Christopher and Mrs. Betsy M. Vandiver Jr., Jacksonville, North Carolina. Derek is survived by his parents, Mrs. Beatrice Peake Page of Rome, Georiga and Mr. and Mrs. Harold Kris Vandiver of Jacksonville, Florida; his precious daughter Ansley Young of Portland, Oregon; brothers Adam Shawn Vandiver of San Clemente, California, Carey Kris Vandiver of Orlando, Florida, and Daniel Harold Vandiver of Bellingham, Washington. Derek was a charming, handsome, and caring young man, much loved by his family and his many friends! He would light up any room and people would usually gravitate towards him. His true love was his daughter Ansley. Derek at 38 never lost the thrill of skateboarding and deeply enjoyed spending time with his daughter and teaching her how to skateboard and play the guitar, another one of Derek's passions. From Jimi Hendrix to Led Zeppelin Derek, could Rock with the best of them as he ran his long fingers up and down the neck of an electric guitar while his fingers moved at light speed. A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 11:00am at Riverside Presbyterian Church, 849 Park Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32204. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to a charitable organization of choice in memory of Derek. HARDAGE-GIDDENS TOWN AND COUNTRY FUNERAL HOME, 7242 Normandy Boulevard, is serving the family. Our hearts are broken. God speed Derek.

Published in the Florida Times-Union on Apr. 2, 2017



Mom So Hard

 I have three women in my life that I need to celebrate today. Each one holds a special place in my heart and has helped mold me into the person that I am today. It's hard to even really express or put into words what these women mean to me, but I'm going to do my best to try.

First, my wife, my better half and my best friend. I don't know who or what I would be without you. I have seen you grow so much over the last nine years of marriage. I remember going back to work a month after we had Noah and the phone calls of panic that he wouldn't sleep during the day. I remember the look of exhaustion when I came home. I remember how hard it was adjusting to life as new parents. I remembered the look in your eyes when you gave birth to Silas and how hard and determined you were to fight for a VBA2C. I will never forget the look of accomplishment that fell across your face. I know being a mom is hard and sometimes when we are in it that it appears there is no end in sight. I promise you that it will all be worth it because we will do it together. Thank you for showing me, true love. 

Second, my mother in law, Terri. I can't say I ever met a fighter as strong as you. A breast cancer survivor two times over is no easy feat, and I know a lot of people would have given up but not you. It's not in your DNA.  I'll never forget during your chemotherapy treatments that you always found time for the boys. You never let cancer get in the way of your life, and you kicked it in the ass. I'm proud of you. Thank you for loving me as your son, for putting up with my crazy antics and allowing me to marry your daughter. You are simply the best.  

Last but not least my mother, Indira Romero. I Remember you staying up with me late at night and helping me with math homework when I was a kid. You used to tell me that it would come in handy later in my life but I can honestly tell you that I have never used an imaginary number in my adult life. LOL. I am thankful for your steadfast love for me. I am thankful for patience and the long nights we had working homework. I am also appreciative of you instilling hard work in me and showing me that nothing in life is easy. 

I love all of you.

Happy Mother’s Day