My mother's best friend. My grandmother. Our hero.

 My grandmother died suddenly a few months ago. An unexpected loss that hit my entire family harder than any of us imagined. We were fractured. Missing the glue that held us together.

The only thing that kept us going in the hours and days after her death were the images we had of her. The hundreds of photographs collected over her eighty-year life were shared and passed around. Family dinners with spaghetti sauce on her white shirt. Smiling on the side of a soccer fields huddled under a blanket on a cold Spring day. She hated having her photo taken yet would always comply when asked.

Photos Keep Her Memory Alive

My phone is littered with photos of her and my mother on the beach. Filtered selfies with bunny ears and dog noses. They looked like children on their first trip to the beach. Not two retired women enjoying life in warm South Carolina.

The photos carried her story. She was lively and stubborn. A fierce storm that ran a successful electronics business in the latter decades of her life. She never forgot a person who crossed her yet gave to any in need unconditionally.

This tough yet compassionate woman was my mother’s best friend. My grandmother.

I latched onto one specific photo of her as my family shared the photos they had. One that I couldn’t stop looking at as I tried to heal. She was standing in my mother’s kitchen. Her nineties hair was permed and hair sprayed to perfection with her white collared shirt tucked into what I assume was high waisted jeans and her head thrown back as she laughs. It is that laugh that I will remember. It was loud and sincere. Her happiness would vibrate through the room until everyone was laughing with her.

I want to carry that laugh with me always. It will sit in a gold Mickey Petite locket necklace  just above the necklace of hers that I wear every day.

Photo of Grandmother in Locket