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