I’m not sure how I want to compose myself for this. Frankly, I don’t know what’s right. I wasn’t going to say anything publicly about this because I don’t know if I should, or what’s best. But, I feel compelled to write something, so that’s what I’m doing.
Yesterday Kobe Bryant died holding his baby girl. I break to write that sentence because the thought of it literally tugs my breath into my lungs and I can’t breathe. I didn’t know Kobe. I didn’t really watch him play basketball. He wasn’t on my radar until every media channel was flooded with his and Gianna’s, his 13-year-old daughter’s face. Yet, I still feel this deep loss that aches. Bluntly, something so horrible is pushed in front of our faces and we can’t take our eyes off of it because it is so horrible, so bizarre, and so real.
A superhero figure was taken down and the entire world shook. When I first heard the news, memories flooded my mind of playing basketball with my elementary students and hearing them yell “Kobe” as they shot each shot. Every single shot. I think about what the shake feels like to them.
I can’t even imagine what his family is going through, god I can’t even imagine. It hurts thinking about that.
When horrible things like this happen first we think about those involved, and then their family members and the people close to them. And then we turn it around into our own lives. We think about how we would feel if this happened to us or someone we know. We try to put ourselves in their shoes, I guess that’s a way we try to understand such a pain.
We see a perspective that we have been aware of in the past but now are forced to see it with a clarity that is so close to home. Life is short, and it’s not promised. All of us were slapped in the face with this reality when we heard the details of the helicopter crash. When we hear something so awful, we gasp, we take air into our lungs. It’s like we’re clinging onto the instinct to live. To feel. Bad things happen in the world every day. We forget this, and we even turn our heads away from it. But this, this snapped our heads back into place where they should be with a reality that is so true, so real. Right now we are living but we don’t know about any second further.
Sometimes I don’t know how to live each day as if it’s my last. Sometimes I don’t know how to cherish every moment and make sure everyone in my life knows that I love them. Sometimes I don’t know how to feel when shit like this happens so mainstream that it rips into every city in America. Sometimes I wonder if I should feel bad for crying for someone I never knew because I feel like I’m not worthy to cry for them, to feel something for them. But, my face contorts anyways and I’m just glad I’m alone while I write this. I don’t know how to relate when something like this happens.
But, for me, it feels natural to cry about this. It feels natural to hurt, to think about Kobe’s family. It feels natural to reflect upon my life and wonder if I’m doing what I should be doing. It feels natural for me to want to call up my people and tell them that I just love them.
As a humanity, we need to feel, we need to live. This horrible accident reminded us all of the importance of this. Hug your people. Love who you love. Try your fucking best and be who you want. Fill your days with what brings you joy. I wish this wasn’t the way we got our wake up call, but when something like this happens we should listen, fuck, we need to listen.