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Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

The actress’ Oma was a portrait of “strength, perseverance, beauty and fortitude.”

On what would have been her grandmother’s 101st birthday October 19, soap-hopper Tamara Braun, who’s soon to return to Days of Our Lives as Ava, took to Instagram to pay tribute to the forebear that she calls “smart, funny, wise, kind, loving and warm.”

The road traveled by Braun’s Oma was not an easy one. “She lost her mother at 14 and then much of her family during the Holocaust. Then her firstborn at 4 years of age,” wrote the actress, formerly Carly (and Kim) on General Hospital. “Even with horrible loss and pain, she still had so much love to give. She had a beautiful smile and a wonderful laugh.”

More: New roles for Days alum and more [PHOTOS]

She was also apparently a total badass. The picture accompanying Braun’s post, she explained, “is my Oma in Bolivia, where she, my Opa, his parents and her father went before America let them in. She carries her machete to help her navigate her way through the jungle.

“I’ve always loved this photo,” she added. “Strength, perseverance, beauty and fortitude.”

In closing, Braun sent her warmest wishes into the hereafter. “Happy birthday, my sweet Oma,” she said. “I hope you know how loved and missed you are.”

Speaking of missed… fans of the Emmy winner won’t have to miss her much longer. Though her first airdate back at Days of Our Lives as Ava has yet to be announced, we do know that she’s already been hard at work. In September, she shared that she was “back in the saddle and back in my Spanx,” adding that “six months of sweats has not prepared me for this torture.”

It still remains to be seen exactly how Ava will figure into the story. When last we saw the character, she’d been smothered to death — or should we say “death”? — by Joey, the son of the object of her obsession, Steve. Any way you slice it, though, the troublemaker’s comeback is bad news for Steve and Kayla.

While you’re here, why not check out the below photo gallery, which counts down the greatest characters in Days of Our Lives history? Even if you disagree with the order in which we’ve ranked them, you’re sure to still love the pictures.