The holidays are just not the same when someone you love is no longer around.

My grandma Mary was born July 4, as a fourth generation, fourth child, and born on the corner of fourth and Osage.

Every single year I visited my grandma on her birthday. We would make her a cake and do all the things families do on birthdays — except we got to shoot fireworks.

The day wasn’t just about the fireworks and or Independence Day, it was about a very colorful woman — grandma.

My grandma was one of those old ladies which would surprise you with the words that would come out of her mouth.

She would spout off to my grandpa when he did something dumb or she might shock us with the recent lingo teens use nowadays.

Not only was her personality cheery and goofy, she also had insane stories.

She told me about what it was like growing up during WWII, the Civil Rights Movement and even McDonald's opening.

One of the first things we would do during a visit is find a movie to watch together.

I have never met anyone else in this world who has watched as many sci-fi movies as this woman did — Alien, Star Trek, you list it she watched it. She also had them all on VHS.

Along with an enormous collection of sci-fi movies she had a ridiculous amount of jewelry, complete sets which she wore for each specific occasion — including the Fourth of July, Christmas, Thanksgiving and birthdays.

These are the things I will remember this Fourth of July. If you have lost someone, know they are still here — she will be there that night, brightly shining in bursts of red, white and blue in the sky.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.