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Goodbye Letter to Traci By Ebony Little

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

Dear Traci,

I never thought the day would come where I would be writing a goodbye letter to you this soon in life. I started crying as soon as I typed my first sentence to you. You were my cousin but raised as my sister. We had the type of sisterhood I wished my blood sister Jocelyn and I had. You and I, now that was something special. We laughed, played, and experienced life together. There were moments you were my cheerleader and my protector, even going to bat for me if you had to.

We were inseparable. We used to talk about having a house next door to one another and raising our kids together. We were 18 when we moved out on our own. Looking back, we probably should have waited. Being who we were, we were ready to be on our own and did just that.

I have so many fond memories of us. I remember us working at Taco Bell; every two weeks, when we got paid, we went to the mall. This was our spot to hang out, eat, go to the movies, and talk to boys, of course. Our grandfather, whom we called Daddy, was the father neither of us had growing up. He would pull up in his Lincoln and take us wherever we wanted to go. You were even there when he taught me how to drive. We used to spend the night with him every weekend. At our request, he would take us to the store to buy all the junk food we wanted.

I remember that time we walked to Easton Mall to see Final Destination at the movies. We were so excited about seeing that movie. Jocelyn went with us and was complaining of being scared afterward. We had to threaten her to shut up since we didn’t want to get into trouble for seeing an R rated movie.

I will always remember when you and baby cousin Lita lived in an apartment together. I drove with Daddy in his gray Thunderbird to see y’all. I had just found out I was pregnant with my firstborn and wanted to share my news with you. You were so happy for me. I will never forget you rubbing my belly with cocoa butter every night, talking to my belly, and walking to the store to buy me Reese cups. You knew how to make a girl feel special.

Along with the memories, there were also many turning points in our lives that I wish I could have changed, or at least foreseen the results. All in all, I have concluded that our paths went the way they did because they were supposed to go that way. Our life was a lesson we were supposed to learn from. I often think about the decisions I made and wonder if they were turning points for you as they were for me. I even wonder if I had been there for you after having my kids if your decision to move to drugs for comfort would have been different. I’m trying not to beat myself up for this, but if I could have caught you before you decided to turn to drugs, maybe it would have made a difference. I wanted to help you as soon as I found out what you were doing. I cried hard when I received the news, for it was a hard pill to swallow. I remember receiving the call while I was on my way to work. At that moment, I knew that this could very well end your life.

I knew you had truly turned into your mother, and we know what happened to her. I’ve always shared that I’ve watched too many of our family members suffer at the claws of drugs to pick up the habit. So why did I let you? I always knew you were going to make major decisions regarding your life and the path you would take. Drugs and alcoholism run-heavy in our family like it does a lot of people. You never wanted to admit to having any drug or alcohol issues. I remember you used to fall all over the place, claiming you were just buzzed. We drank and had fun with you because we loved you, and at least we knew you were safe with us, not to mention you were also the life of the party. You may have gotten us into a few quarrels with other people or kicked out of bars and clubs, but at least we knew you weren’t somewhere being abused or being taken advantage of.

I will always regret not telling you I did not like the fact that you were doing drugs. I wanted to grab hold of you and smack some sense in you. We used to laugh at the saying by Rick James, “Cocaine is a hell of a drug.” I guess we didn’t take it seriously that it can be a gateway to lead to other harder drugs. I wanted to help you; I really did. But yet, I left you in Ohio knowing you needed help and didn’t know how to ask for it.

Deep down, I wanted you to move to Georgia so I could help you get your life together. But at the same time, I wanted you to prove you wanted the help and find a way to make it to Georgia. In my mind, that would have proved to me that you were serious. I want you to know that you could have called me at any moment and said, Ebony or Karmel, can you help me? Even though I hated my old name, I would have responded, “Karmel died, but yes, I’ll help you.”

Maybe I should have followed up and told you how I felt, but deep down, I knew it would not have made a difference. Things were different for me too. I was in a different place. I fell off from the whole family, straight into motherhood. I placed my focus on the relationship I had with my kids’ father, stepping away from everybody else. It wasn’t anything personal, but I knew it was best for me. Like you, I needed to get myself together.

I refuse to remember you as you were over the past few years. That wasn’t the Traci I knew. That was the full-blown Coco that came out and didn’t care what anybody said. You were past the point of no return, and maybe you were trying to bring attention to yourself the only way you knew how. You were crying out for help and didn’t know how to say it. I will never know now. In your mind, you were always right, and you were living your life. In reality, you were suffering loudly for years, and it showed. I know you’re not suffering anymore. I will never be able to hear your voice or see your face again. I will never be able to see how you would look with salt and pepper hair and wrinkled hands or with that crazy nail art you use to love. I will never be able to see you finally get yourself together and become sober.

Therefore, I choose to remember the sweet, stingy Traci, who just wanted to be loved and have a baby. I remember the girl who used to lie in bed next to me when I was scared of thunderstorms. I remember the girl who turned up more than you on your birthday. Traci, I will never forget you and all the memories we shared. I will always cherish the special memories that will forever be between you and me. I still can’t bring myself to listen to Bia, Bia by Lil Jon and the Eastside Boys. My TRU BIA! Things will never be the same without you, and it hasn’t been for a long time. Kiss Daddy, Fatty and your mom for me, I love you! 



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