MONTEGO BAY, St James— Instead of a casket, a flower-adorned photograph of 68-year-old Beryl Walters had pride of place during Wednesday's memorial service to honour her life.
The family matriarch was washed away by flood waters that also claimed the life of her 12-year-old granddaughter Jennel. Walters' body was not found.
She was remembered as someone who loved to laugh, a prayer warrior, a prophetess, and a woman who lived a dedicated and outstanding life of Christianity.
On Wednesday, those who gathered at the Mount Salem Seventh-day Adventist Church for the service alternated between laughter and tears as one by one those who loved Walters spoke of the woman she had been.
During his tribute her brother, Clinton Hylton, had attendees laughing out loud as he shared story after story about their times together. He recalled one memorable event that took place as he drove his sister to the airport after she came to visit him in the United States. He heard a loud noise and thought his car had been hit. Then he realised it was just the sound of his sister hitting the dashboard as she declared, in the name of Jesus, that she would be going home that day despite challenges on the road.
When she stood to share her memories, Dr Julian Walters said her mother could find humour under even the most challenging of situations.
"She loved to laugh. She was always cracking jokes about everything, no matter how serious the circumstances were, no matter what crisis you were going through she would find something in it to smile and joke and laugh about," she said.
The memories shared also depicted someone dominated by her faith in Christ. Her son, Carl Poyser, said Walters often encouraged him to become a Christian. He was glad, he said, that "mom went on to be with the Lord knowing that I was alright with Christ".
Walters was also described as a confidant who was frequently sought out for advice. According to her daughter Shannon, as one phone call ended another would begin as her mother provided support to those who needed her.
Her willingness to help others also extended to material possessions. Many spoke of items she had given them and how she never hesitated when asked to help.
Beryl Walters and little Jennel were pushed from the family car by flood waters as they travelled on the inundated Westgate main road on April 19. Jennel's body was found later that day but that of her beloved grandmother was never recovered despite weeks of searching.
Jennel was laid to rest last Saturday at King's Seventh-day Adventist Church, metres away from where her grandmother was remembered on Wednesday.