It’s been about 48 hours since we’ve learned the official news of the passing of Kobe and Gianna Bryant in a helicopter crash. A few hours after Kobe and Gigi’s names were confirmed we learned the names of three more victims. John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli. Yesterday morning we learned the names of the last four victims: Sarah and Payton Chester, Ara Zobayan, and Christina Mauser.
I’m honestly still in shock trying to process all of this. I go from bouts of shock to sadness in a constant loop. We keep seeing the beautiful montage of Kobe Bryant the basketball player (who many of us loved to hate. Myself included LOL) But all I can think about is how early Gianna, Alyssa, and Sarah’s lives were cut short. Then I think about Vanessa Bryant, their three girls, the Altobelli’s two older kids, Sarah and Payton’s husband/dad and their kids, as well as, Christina’s husband and three kids. All of them at home waking up for the second day of their new “normal”. The empty beds, empty side of the beds, empty rooms, less voices, etc. Just typing this out has brought me to tears. I just can’t even begin to imagine.
Vanessa Bryant has been with Kobe since she was 17 years old. She’s spent more of her life with him than her life before him. She had a child 7 months ago which we mamas know postpartum life can already be a bit much. Then to lose her husband and child on the same day in the blink of an eye makes me wish I could wrap her in the biggest of hugs. What particularly makes my heartbreak for her is knowing how public Kobe and Gigi’s deaths will always be to her. How TMZ broke the news of her husband’s death (knowing her baby was on the plane too) before they were even notified. The fact that every move Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri make will be extremely public with everyone’s eyes on them. I keep seeing people say there were 7 other people on the plane and their lives matter too. Of course their lives matter. But right now the world is mourning the public figure and his child who felt like family to most of us. The God to honest truth is, those 7 victims families got the privacy and mourning I only wish the Bryants could’ve gotten as well. So many of Kobe’s loved ones found out he was killed through TMZ and social media. Can you even begin to imagine that horror? I know I can’t.
I find myself mourning Kobe so closely because he was a huge part of the culture I’ve grown up in, but more importantly because I am a wife and a mother. Accolades are amazing, but there’s nothing like the love of your family. It was evident how much love they all had/have for each other. Kobe being a father of all girls hits close to home because all I can think about is how much my husband and girls love each other. I’m mourning Kobe because in my opinion he was just getting started in his most impactful work. Skip Bayless said it best: “Kobe was becoming greater in his second career than he was his first”. I wholeheartedly believe and agree with him.
In both my shock and sadness I feel a sense of inspiration. Inspiration that energized me to be better in every aspect of life. Seeing the posts celebrating Kobe as an athlete, husband, father, friend, philanthropist, etc. is igniting my will to truly LIVE. I want to live in a way that leaves a legacy my loved ones can be proud of. A legacy of helping and loving others. A legacy of knowing I changed the world for the better. Especially my little world right around me. I want to stop looking at certain aspects of life as a chore and start seeing it as having the privilege to be here and able to do it. I want to spend more time with my family. Actively making it a point to spend more time together. Because I’m willing to bet if there was anything Kobe could’ve asked for it would’ve been more time with his loved ones.
Death is always hard because death is permanent. Death is especially hard when it’s people we love. And although death is hard we recognize how it energizes the living. From the death of close loved ones to the death of celebrities we’ve never officially met, we always hear the term “life is too short”. We can allow ourselves to mourn while at the same time allowing ourselves the room to heal through the energy of still being alive. How unfair is it to know so many young(er) people’s lives were cut short two days ago? But how invigorating is it to know we woke up this morning, traveled to and from our destinations safely, to still have more time to love ourselves and those around us? How many of us feel fired up to be and do better? I know I do.
Interesting enough, I was trying to figure out how I was going to start this year off blogging. I was going back and forth on whether it would be some inspirational post about the new year and decade. Or a classic food recipe. I kept trying to figure out what I wanted to say to the world about 2020. Then this tragedy happened two days ago and my goals have never been so clear. There’s A LOT of work to be done, but I know what needs to be done, and I’m energized to the work. How could I not be when I’m still here to do the work people like Kobe, Gianna, John, Keri, Alyssa, Sarah, Payton, Christina, and Ara aren’t here to do anymore?
Rest In Peace to all nine of the victims.
Thank you Kobe for being a human being that made/makes us what to all be better people. We are thankful for you.