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.