Eight years today I lost one of my favorite cousins. She was my role model. I wanted to be and do everything she did. I remember when she took me to the Million Woman March here in Philly, in 1997. I was so happy to be with her. I remember that day so well. We got down to the parkway area around 9 am. We were helping her high school friends make signs on poster boards. The sign I made read “March for me, I am your daughter too”. We met so many beautiful woman, a few I call mentors to this day.
When she graduated college, we became a bit distant. She moved to Augusta, Ga and began working for a firm. I swore up and down she was a lawyer, I bragged to everyone that she was lawyer. I’d say “I come from lawyers and judges, don’t mess with me, I will get you locked up” . She was just a paralegal. Everyone loved her, but nobody ever told me the truth about how she lived.
She was a beautiful woman, she had many men walk in and out her life. A lot of them were jerks and dirt bags, but there were a few exceptions. Her last boyfriend, who became her husband, we thought was an exception. I’d only met him once, he seemed real cool. He gave me $50.00 at every birthday party he came to. I remember he had a dog too. I knew something was off about him when I asked for a particular book for my birthday one year, and he refused to get it. He said to me (I was 13 years old mind you) “Women shouldn’t read that shit, go get a diary”. I asked for the Invisible Man, written by Ralph Emerson. Ever since then he was on my bad side.
My cousin was abused by this monster of a husband. At only 23 years old, she had scars, bruises, and burns and that would be with her for life. In January of 2004, she gave birth to my cousin Grace. Grace lived with my aunt for schooling here in Philadelphia. My cousin was driving from Atlanta to visit her daughter, mother, and other relatives in Philly. It usually took her a day to get here, but this particular time she never made it to Philly.
She was struck by a SUV driven by her husband on I-95 in Delaware. They died on the spot.
She would of been 32 years old today. Grace is 8 years old and still does not know what happened to her parents.