Fond memories: A grieving family sought solace yesterday in old family photographs of Raymond growing up. “I will pass on my memories of my brother to my daughter,” said Ms Curtis (second from left). Also pictured: Raymond’s cousin Jaquita Rollins with her sister’s baby Xola, cousin Tiffany Rollins, grandmother Inez Curtis and niece Ty-Jah Rollins. *Photo by Helen Jardine
Fond memories: A grieving family sought solace yesterday in old family photographs of Raymond growing up. “I will pass on my memories of my brother to my daughter,” said Ms Curtis (second from left). Also pictured: Raymond’s cousin Jaquita Rollins with her sister’s baby Xola, cousin Tiffany Rollins, grandmother Inez Curtis and niece Ty-Jah Rollins. *Photo by Helen Jardine
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Carmilita Curtis is lost without her little brother.

He was always her rock through the bad times: their father's death when they were children, their mother's illness, moving countries...

Now that he is gone she wonders what she will do without him.

"We had a rough childhood when my father [Glenn] passed away," she explained. "That really affected him and he had a lot of hurt. But we always vented our problems to each other and talked it out. I was his support and he was my support. He was very loving and caring toward his family and others in the community."

In the early hours of Saturday morning, Raymond was walking home from drinks with friends when he was hit by a car. The motorist drove away, leaving Raymond to die by the roadside.

Sitting around the kitchen table in the family home at Albert Row, Sandys, the family sifts through old photographs of Raymond, pointing out cousins, aunts, uncles, and telling stories about happier times.

" I remember when we were younger and lived upstairs in the house we had bunk-beds," Ms Curtis said. "He'd sleep up top and me on the bottom. One day he fell off the top bunk and chipped his tooth and had to have it capped. I'll never forget that."

Growing up with a two-year age gap, the siblings would often play together - telling jokes, making up songs and holding HipHop competitions against each other.

"He was very protective of me," she said. "He was always making sure I was fine. He didn't let anyone harm me.

"He was really wonderful with my daughter, Sumayyah. He called her 'niecey.' I will pass on my memories of my brother to her. And we have lots of video footage of him we can show her."

Days before his death Mr. Curtis was planning a move to Mississippi, U.S. to spend time with his ailing mother, Christine Curtis, who lives there.

While there, he hoped to pursue a career in real estate or become an entrepreneur.

"I told him it was a great career," said Ms Curtis. "We always talked through decisions like that together."

Mrs. Curtis is expected to fly out for the funeral either today or tomorrow.

As well as being a good cook, keen swimmer and huge fan of his football team Ireland Rangers, Mr. Curtis loved to be around animals and his sister said he was very kind-hearted towards them.

"He loved animals," Ms Curtis said. "Throughout our foundation years we grew up on a farm in Mississippi so we were around hogs, horses and mules all the time."

The family moved to Bermuda when Mr. Curtis was nine-years-old.

"We came out here for the summer and my mom decided we should stay with my grandmother," said Ms. Curtis, who is an administrative assistant at Sandys Secondary School.

When asked if her brother had many girlfriends, Ms Curtis said: "He was never one to disrespect a lady. In fact he was quite shy and would be more likely to ask his friend 'Hey, who's that girl over there?'"

She recalls the last time she saw her brother: "He came by the house and brought all the kids chocolate bars...chocolate Oreo cake puffs I think they were.

"I know I will see him again. I know our bodies are only vessels carrying our spirits to do God's work. His spirit lives on in my heart forever."

Mr. Curtis's cousin Jaquita Rollins, who lived with Mr. Curtis in the family home, said she worries her young daughter Ty-Jah will be among those to feel the loss the hardest.

"Ty-Jah would always jump up into Raymond's arms when he'd be at the door," she explained. "He will be badly missed by her and she's having a hard time. But she sees me upset and keeps saying to me, 'Don't worry. We'll see him again later. We'll see him when we get to heaven.'

"It's hard but I'm trying to stay focused on my children."

She explained the toughest part of the ordeal so far for her:

"The hardest part was that I was the one who had to 'view' him to... to say yes or no...if it was him..." her voice trails off. "That was definitely the hardest part. I just keep seeing his face right in front of my face, laying there like that."

Mr. Curtis's 76-year-old grandmother Inez Curtis said her grandson was "a really fun boy" and that she will miss him every day.

"He always gave me a kiss and a hug and said 'I love you granny'," she said. "I'll remember he always used to come into the kitchen and ask, 'what you cooking? Codfish breakfast?' It was one of his favourites."

Mr. Curtis's aunt Gloriette Rollins said, above all, she will miss his smile the most.

"He always looked out for me," she said. "Everytime my cellphone would accidentally call his number, seconds later he would call me back and make sure I was okay. I'm really gunna miss not hearing his voice.

"Only the Lord knows why this happened."