A text pops up on my screen in my group chat, “TMZ is reporting that Kobe Bryant died”. Immediately I go to Google, nothing pops up. I respond, “Omg! Link?”. Within seconds, there it is in black and white, ‘Kobe Bryant Dies in Helicopter Crash in Calabasas’.
I tell a stunned boyfriend. I call my parents. Within an hour or so every news outlet is covering it as we all collectively watch in disbelief.
To call myself a sports fan is beyond a stretch, but you didn’t need to know a lot about basketball to know about Kobe Bryant. I can only imagine how his avid fans feel. His impact on the game and the city of Los Angeles was legendary. Was…isn’t that crazy?
A few hours go by and the shock is slightly starting to sink in. Then I get a text from a coworker with a screenshot of an article stating that Kobe’s 13 year old daughter, Gianna, is one of the dead. I’m shattered.
That’s when my shock became a deep unbelievable sadness. Kobe had so much more life to live, but in his short time on earth there’s no denying that he truly lived. Gianna was just getting started.
Then my mind jumps to his family. In one day they lost a father/husband and a daughter/sister. Lest we forget the other seven passengers (two of whom were also children). Families are irreparably broken. How do you come back from that? How do you keep going?
We have a mass shooting on what feels like a weekly basis. Our country is on the brink of war. People are losing their homes and lives to natural disasters. Then something happens to someone you know (even if only from afar) and you’re reminded to not let yourself get desensitized to tragedy.
I am devastated. Devastated as a sister. Devastated as a daughter. Devastated beyond words.
Things like this go against nature. Kobe was supposed to grow old with Vanessa and watch his daughters graduate high school/college and maybe one day play in the WNBA. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
And I think that is why it hit everyone so hard. When someone dies suddenly doing something they do frequently (he took helicopter to every Lakers home game) we’re reminded about the fragility of life. When someone very young dies, we’re reminded that death doesn’t spare anyone.
The biggest question is why do the tragedies like this happen? It’s a question that has no answer.
The only thing we can do is tell the people we love that we love them every chance we get because we don’t know if it’ll be our last. We can remember to seize every moment because life is not promised.
Today I woke up thinking of the Bryant family and the families of the other victims. This shouldn’t have happened, but I know your memories will be honored by those who knew and loved you.