I have only one picture of my grandparents as young people. Just one. It’s the day they were married.
They’re standing arm in arm. My grandpa is draping his hand possessively on my grandma’s hip. My grandma is squeezing him tight around his middle with one arm, the other folded demurely behind her waist.
I know their stories of course. I know how they were going to get married, packed and everything, and my grandpa was sent to prison for not going to war, despite being a conscientious objector. It would be three and a half years before he would get out and that picture could be taken, my grandma waiting for him the whole time. It shook my grandmother so deeply that to this day she can’t tell the story all the way through.
Three and a half years apart, then they could be together. All the torrent of emotion that must have come and gone, like a massive and deliberate tide on some long and now lonely coast. The only thing I have connecting me to them at that time in their life is that solitary sepia photograph. It’s priceless for it.
My family has always meant everything to me, and I heard those words exactly from the best man, Jeremie’s brother, during his toast to them. You could tell that Diana and Jeremie were very much loved by their family, from Diana’s mother’s final touches just before the ceremony, to Jeremie’s mother tenderly beaming during the mother-son dance, and everything in between.
All of those images will be their legacy, their heirlooms.