This is not a post I ever wanted to write. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. For the past two weeks I have been very silent on my blog and various social media channels because I’ve been in total shock. I went from depressed, to anxious, to angry. And the worst part is the pain is only truly beginning. For those who don’t know, on May 15, my cousin, Kameela Russell went missing. An official missing person’s report was filed on May 17, which is when I was notified. I immediately had a bad feeling about it; I knew something bad happened. The circumstances surrounding her disappearance were beyond suspicious and nothing made any sense. She’s not the type to run away or commit suicide so I knew it wasn’t that. By Saturday morning, when there was no update or anything of value to go on, I knew she wouldn’t be found alive. People thought I was being cynical and needed to be more positive, but there was no denying the reality of the situation and I wanted to be prepared for it.
So two weeks later, when a body was discovered, I cannot describe the relief I felt. Here’s the thing, not knowing where someone is, is the worst feeling. There is always some level of hope that they’re okay and can possibly come back. It’s impossible to fully move on. I was glued to my phone, waiting for updates, constantly watching the news. I was on edge because every time my mum or dad called, I thought that would be the call, but it wasn’t. Finding her body provided a level of closure, because it helped me to accept that she was truly never coming back. But that doesn’t mean I’m okay with any part of this.
Co-workers are shocked at how strong I am right now, and to be honest so am I. There were moments when I sobbed, and I do mean heavily, dramatically sobbed in my best friend’s arms, and coworkers arms. What I learned is although there are some people I can grieve with, for the most part, I prefer to grieve alone. I also learned that I’ve become the person that spends so much time enjoying the moment, that I don’t always remember to photograph the moment (which is weird as a photographer and blogger). I realised this when I could only find a handful of pictures of Kameela and I. I can’t begin to count the moments we spent together.
This woman formed so much of who I am today. She taught me how to dance and a lot of truth. She helped me to move out of my college dorm, picked me up from the airport countless times, trusted me of all people with her kids, picked me up after my first tattoo and taught me how to care for it. She taught me so much but I will never be able to repay her for. She was the life of the party, a source of wisdom and the big sister I never had. We somehow both ended up in education and always bonded over it. We traded stories and watched the TV Land show, Teachers. We laughed over memes and she educated me on who’s who, on Love and Hip Hop. I laughed at you trying to act gangster when you needed your glasses just to see. Your honesty was always appreciated and I will never forget when she took over my cousin’s Christmas party and actually made it fun. You even got my grandmother to twerk! I will always miss you. Thank you for teaching me so much.
On June 22, I will say my final good bye, but I cannot accept that this is how your story ends. No one deserves this. I’m still going back and forth between acceptance and “did this really happen?” I want answers. I want more time. I want to comfort my aunt who just lost her only child. There is nothing anyone can do to prepare for this kind of pain. But every day, I will try a little harder to get by. When I was little, all I wanted was to be just like you, now all I want is justice for you.