Remembering a stranger….

I didn’t know Kobe. My kids didn’t go to school with his. I don’t even like basketball, but yesterday when news broke about the helicopter that claimed his life along with eight others, I was shocked.

I immediately posted the article with the comment “Wow. So Sad.” Shortly a friend commented “sorry for your loss”. Initially I thought that was a strange response, but then again, I survived the loss of Paul Walker (whom I ALSO did not know) and the memories of people being catty about the heartbreak felt across the world for someone most of us knew only from the Fast and Furious movies came flooding back. (I don’t fault my friend for her comment, I totally get where she’s coming from and there’s lots of other folks that feel the same.)

I could tell you about Kobe’s basketball accomplishments, if I really understood what they meant. But I don’t, and I won’t. I WILL suffice it to say that even though I don’t like basketball and don’t understand one thing about the game, someone getting a professional contract at the ripe age of 17, so young his parents had to co-sign for him, and then becoming the highest scoring player in the history of the game is pretty damn amazing. I’ll move on though….

We could debate on what kind of person he was. I don’t know what causes he championed, if any. I don’t know how much money he made, and I don’t know what sponsorships he had, so we’ll move on from that too.

When the article alerted on my phone, these were my first thoughts:

  • Holy shit, Kobe Bryant is dead.
  • Oh my God, his wife must be devastated.
  • Oh my God, what about his kids.

As more information came out and it really had time to sink in, this is where my mind was and I’m betting I wasn’t alone.

  • Holy shit, Kobe Bryant is dead.
  • Holy shit, his wife is learning she has lost not only her husband, but one of her children as well.

Then my mind started to really wander and I thought about a 26 year old girl who passed suddenly while pregnant and I wondered why my 41 year old self made it through my pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum with a completely healthy, perfect baby – and I’m still here to talk about it.

I thought about one of my kids who drives late at night coming home from work – and that made me think of a classmate who’s been waiting for her son wake up from a coma-like state caused by a vehicle accident on New Years Day. #LaneStrong2020

I thought about the other kid who took a nasty fall from her horse a year ago – and that made me think of the family member of someone I know who recently took a fall from her horse and she’s now paralyzed from the neck down.

I thought about Kobe’s kids finding out they’d lost a father and a sister, and I empathized with them because I know what it’s like to have your mother look you in the face and tell you that your daddy is gone and he’s never coming back. I silently thanked God I was 23 when I got that message and not 17, or 3, less than 1 and faced with growing up my entire life with only the worlds memories of my father. I got to have prom, graduation, my first kiss, my first boyfriend and my first breakup with my dad. These girls will now miss most of these milestones with theirs.

I thought of Kobe’s wife finding out she’d lost her husband from a news media outlet. I thought of my mother being told my dad was gone. I thought about how she went home that night and cleaned to have something to do, how she walked around with a shocked look on her face because her whole world was gone. I thought about how I’ve watched her try to build a life for herself the last 18 years.

And yes, I saw the articles circulating about the helicopter full of Marines that crashed and they all died. That was 2005. I mourned when that happened 15 years ago.

And yes, I saw the article about the Army soldier who died yesterday and I thought about my husband and how at any point during not only his deployments but his training exercises, various schools, traveling in between, and regular work days on base, he could have died or been killed and I thanked God he made it home, he made it out, and he made it here with me and how grateful I was for him (even when he thinks I’m not, which is probably every day right now because I’m an angry, bitter lady stuck at home all day and I have not come to terms with the changes in my life or found my new footing yet [so hoping I’m making some points by acknowledging my angriness here] but I am trying – and mostly failing).

Kobe dying is no more sad than losing anyone else who isn’t famous.

Losing Gigi isn’t any more sad or tragic than the death of any other child.

There were two other young girls on that plane.

There were two moms and one dad on that plane.

There was a pilot.

There are so many families mourning today. I don’t know any of them.

What I DO know is that their loss reminded me about the things I have to be grateful for.

It was a reminder that life is short. Time is up before you know it, and rarely ever when you’re prepared for it.

Make the most of what you’ve got and love the people in your life.