It was four days after the funeral and Dad had sat me down, or rather I had sat Dad down, to finally take the lid off the dusty photo box.  We got to this one, and Dad froze.  He smiled, a smile I had not seen in a long time, a smile so heavy as if it was carrying a thousand memories.

As he studied the photograph, I studied his face, and in his twinkling eyes I could see the magic of Carmen.

Her colorful soul that transcended from her colorful dress and her infectious spirit had affected Dad’s face, and through simply an image I realized that Carmen was a rare gem in this world.  I noticed that my otherwise impassive father felt prompted to capture her beauty, and I envisioned my grinning Dad behind the camera, a grin that matched that of Carmen.  

In the same way Dad had been affected by the charm of Carmen, I too suddenly became overwhelmed.  Understandably so, this was the first time I saw the woman whose name became my middle name, and I felt this responsibility to make people feel the way that Carmen made Dad feel.  

Dad looked over at me for the first time since he came across this photograph, and he spoke slowly but with intent.  “This is the photograph that should have been shown at her funeral.”

I wish I could’ve been at the funeral, because I feel like I know Carmen, in a way.  And I wish I could have gotten up there and told this story, because it shows the magic of Carmen, a magic that has so much life contained in it that it cannot die.

Story by Caroline Fortuna

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