The sudden and shocking death of NBA Legend, Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California is heartbreaking and devastating! An ordinary Sunday morning–moms and dads, daughters and sons, husbands and wives headed to a basketball practice at Bryant’s Mamba Academy. Their lives previously intertwined in celebratory moments and now, in death! It made me sick to my stomach like I felt when my own 40-year-old niece passed away without warning three years ago. Paralyzing and raw!
I immediately thought about the families they left behind and their insurmountable grief. My heart is so heavy for Vanessa Bryant, having to not only bury her husband, but also her precious daughter. Like you, I find myself crying off and on and praying to God to give her the strength she will need to lift her head, pick up her life and raise her surviving three daughters. We will always remember where we were and what we were doing, when we heard the unimaginable news on Sunday, January 26, 2020; millions of us collectively united in sorrow! I called my son, Troy, who lives in Los Angeles; we stayed on the phone for two hours– sometimes talking and sometimes silent–suspended in disbelief!!
This overwhelming grief and outpouring of love extends beyond Kobe’s global appeal as a great basketball player with a revered and relentless work ethic, humanitarian with an engaging personality and Oscar winner with an undeniable passion for creativity. No. What touched me the most, is what mattered most to him, his role and influence as a dad, in particular, a ”girl dad.” Being human; just like the rest of us!
Bible scripture speaks of ”a time to be born and a time to die,” a guarantee on the finality of life! But, for me, it was processing how it happened. Rapid, swift, no goodbyes, no preparations, no forewarning, no terminal illnesses or self-destructive behaviors. The adult victims were in their prime and the girls possessed immeasurable promise for the future.
Over the past six days, while watching a barrage of beautiful tributes and old interviews with Kobe, I was struck by one in 2016 with The Ringer in which he discussed his view on death. He said, ” It’s a comfortable one. It’s an understanding that you can’t have life without death, can’t have light without dark, right? So, its an acceptance of that.” Up until his death, Kobe robustly tapped into his purpose and zest for life!
This tragedy stirred up my own views on mortality and sense of urgency to grab every single minute!
What are we doing with the time we have? What is your narrative?
Let’s be present in the moments– the little ones and big ones. Listen. Slow down. Take the long way home. Celebrate sunny, snowy and rainy days! Dismiss toxic people and situations. See the good; embrace being positive. Encourage others to be their best selves. Let people know that you care and love them. Hold your family tight! Be kind. Let things go that are petty and ridiculous. Apologize. Take a deep dive into your bucket list and get busy. Stop putting off stuff until the time is right or all your ducks are in a row; the time or money is never right; move those ducks around! Travel to dreamy destinations. Find joy in the ordinary. Walk in the park. Stroll the beach. Embrace your spiritual side. Stop delaying adventures, opportunities, lunch dates, phone calls, visits and treating yourself well. Don’t forget to have fun. Use your gift. Begin something. Finish what you started. Get out of your rut; stop being afraid to mess up; challenge yourself. Do what you love. Make your own imprint! Be happy. Live today like it is your last!!
We can’t choose how or when we leave this world, but, I just hope, I can leave it a little bit better when it’s my time.
Rest in peace. Kobe! Thank you!