Love Is Blind, Open Your Eyes

Last week I received the unfortunate news that my pregnant 25-year-old cousin and her four-year-old daughter had been murdered.  While the police were tight-lipped about their suspicions, my family had already come to the unfortunate conclusion that her boyfriend was involved.

A ton of thoughts ran through my mind when I got the news.  I thought about all of the memories I had of her.   I thought about the last time I saw her and how I decided not to stop and catch up because I was running late for a meeting.  I thought about the 2-year-old daughter that will live the rest of her life vicariously through third party stories and pictures of her mother.  I thought about her daughter who died beside her and her unborn twins.  I thought, that despite the news report, one time I would click refresh on my computer and a breaking story would read it wasn’t true at all.  But it never happened.

This week, I traveled to the Essence Music Festival for work and thought keeping busy would keep me going until the funeral.  It worked.  But then Kanye West performed his Hey Mama tribute and I felt myself breaking down inside.

I began thinking about the reality of my cousin’s death and the fact that she had been trying to leave her boyfriend and because he didn’t want that, he brutally took four lives.  I thought about my friends and how they’ve had splits that have come with idle threats and maybe a shove or two here and there.  I thought about the conversation I had with my mom and how she cried while telling me that she couldn’t stop worrying about my safety and my own relationships.

I thought about telling my mother that I’d be OK.  But I couldn’t lie.  No matter how cautious I am; there are no certainties in life.  I can’t promise my mother anything except I won’t forget the realities of life and that no one is immune to anything.

Maybe some people have signs and ignore them, and despite how jacked up this world is, maybe we give people too much credit.  Someone used to say, “Don’t put anything past anyone.”  I hate to live like that, but I don’t want my mother burying me before my time and I don’t want my friend’s parents burying them and I don’t want your friends and family burying you.

My cousin, Alicia Avery, didn’t deserve what happened to her but I pray that her story, and stories like her’s will wake some of us up from this fantasy world that we live in.  Love is blind, open your eyes.

-Ashley Charisma is the author of School of Black Love.  For more info on Ashley Charisma and the novel visit

You can also follow Ashley Charisma on: Twitter and Facebook



  1. My prayers are with you and I am sorry you lost your cousin and the babygirl___ladies if a man is beating you up..LET HIM GO…you think he love you cause he is jealous and he hits you but he would do that to any female he is with..

  2. Thinking of you and your family at this time. May your cousin and her baby girl rest in peace.

    Agreed with Nox. If your man lays a hand on you, it’s time to find a way out. No man who cares and respects you will ever hit you. He may say sorry afterwards, he may promise it’ll never happen again, he may cry and beg for forgiveness, he may take you out to dinner, clean the house, cook you breakfast in bed the next day, whatever — he will hit you again, and it’s only going to get worse. We all deserve love, and true love doesn’t come in the form of a beating.

    I know sometimes its easier said than done, for a million reasons, but find local resources, including shelters to help you get a safety plan or a protective order or a doctor to check you out or a pastor or counselor to talk to about it, if you can’t talk to any one else. You are worth more than you are told and treated like you are worth. Do not be ashamed, just get yourself help.

  3. WOW!!! I Pray God comforts you in a time when ALL seems so Wrong!

    Remember that God hasn’t Forgotten you, Loved ones are taken and we NEVER understand why. But God knows all and He isn’t Sleeping!
    I Pray you meet her & all your Loved ones on Resurrection morning, for we shall be Changed!

    1 THESSALONIANS 4:16-18

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. My prayers go out to you and your family.

  5. My prayers go out to you and your family. God bless you and keep you through this hard time. 🙁

  6. my sympathies go out to you as well and your family. i was once a victim of domestic violence and my brother almost went to jail for pulling a gun on my abuser and just like a stalker we can’t control what someone else will do. if they want to do something they will. all we can do is keep praying for a resolution.

  7. Sorry for your loss. I pray God comforts you and your family.

  8. It’s so sad…may God strengthen you and your entire family as you walk through this heart-wrenching sorrow.

    The violence against women and children has to stop! Women have to stop trying to fix and love the bird with the broken wing. We love men for who we know they CAN be (potentiality), instead of who they show us they really are (actuality)…many of us, including myself have dodged this awful senseless reality by the sheer grace of God!

    Peace and Blessings!

  9. My prayers go out to you and your family. I was a victim of domestic violence for several years. My ex had threatened to kill me, my son and himself. I waited until the right moment when I saved up enough money for my son and I to fly from San Diego, California to Baltimore, Maryland.

  10. My prayers are with you and your family love!

  11. My prayers are with you and your loved ones. Ladies if a man hits you once he will do it again and again and again. Walk away don’t wait till your arm is broken til you’re in the hospital. Walk away the minute you see abuse. Calling you names is a form of abuse it’s verbal abuse. Walk away.

  12. Self Love is Priceless…we as sisters have to acknowledge that even if it means…BEING ALONE!!

  13. I live in baltimore where this happened, and this story was really sad. That bastard will get what he deserves in jail.

  14. The crazy thing is she was under witness protection waiting to testify in a trial against someone, but in the end she needed protection against someone who was in her own damn house.

  15. Okay i can’t stop crying. It’s sad an i prat that other women don’t go through this at all Which i know is impossible. I’m in the same place as her cuzzin. I don’t mean to take over her tread. It’s hard that all i have to say. It’s really hard especially when u don’t have family and no friends

  16. @bee You have yourself! That should be enough! Get ur money up and get outta there if ur in the same place as her

  17. Thank u all for the kind words and support.

    @ Bee You are all you need to make the first step. especially if you have kids, imagine their life without you and imagine their life if u stay. Be smart about the moves you make but make them.

  18. I am so sorry for what happened to your family. I have three kids and to think someone would be that cruel.
    Just remember Ashley ( ironically we have the same name) the promises Jesus held out in the Bible at John 11 and John 5:28,29 when he raised his friend Lazarus.
    Your cousins are sleeping just waiting to hear Jesus voice and then you will be able to make up for lost time in beautiful conditions here on earth where they or anyone for that matter will not have to be scared like that anymore.

    My prayers are with you and your family.
    Please keep those promises close to you because the pain won’t go away but until she is awaken they can help you cope.

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