Rest in Paradise
On January 13th, I only had ONE thing in mind when posting about Kobe Bryant and that was to pay homage to a man who played a significant role in my latter teen years (into early adulthood). I wanted to poke fun at how I tried to emulate him, how I saved every magazine featuring his face, how I'd watch every interview, but most importantly, how proud I was to see his name mentioned as one of the candidates for the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame. Little did I know on January 26th, just thirteen days after that post, Bryant, his daughter and seven other victims would be involved in a tragic helicopter crash out in the hills of Calabasas, CA, leaving their families and the rest of the world to mourn.
My eyes have poured out real tears for several days now. At times, I can't help myself. In fact, my vision is quite blurred as I type this - fighting through an overwhelming feeling of sadness taking over my soul. This sensation occurs whenever my mind wanders to that horrific day or when I catch a glimpse of Kobe's peers pouring their eyes out on national TV, or something simple, like staring at the photo above. This f*cking hurts.
I thought long and hard on whether I should even touch this story. After all, this is supposed to be a 'feel good' blog and it was only a couple of weeks ago where I was singing Kobe Bryant's praises. Now, here I am, sadly talking about this man's death. I cannot believe this; something is terribly wrong with that last sentence. To be frank, I find all of this extremely eerie. But I am a writer, writing has always been therapeutic and I desperate NEED to type: today, tomorrow, next week, so on and so forth. Whether it is read by one set of eyes or thousands. I have to do this or I am as good as done.
This whole ordeal doesn't seem real. It's almost like there was some sort of glitch in the matrix. Yes, we all die - it's a part of life and I completely understand. I lost my grandmother of 93 years back in September and there isn't a day that goes by where I don't think of her. Although, I felt she could possibly live forever, 93 years is quite the accomplishment. But when we look at this tragedy on January 26th, Kobe lived to see 41, his daughter, 13. They were cheated at life and I won't feel otherwise.
Bryant and his daughter were on the cusp of transitioning to that 'next level' - post NBA Kobe as a husband, father, entrepreneur, Academy Award winner, author, coach/mentor, his daughter Gianna, as a superb 8th grade basketball talent just welcoming those challenging teenage years - quite possibly on the verge of becoming a highly sought after student-athlete. Its been well documented how Gianna took on her father's 'Mamba Mentality' so perhaps those teenage years would have been a breeze, but now we'll never know how far her talents would have taken her. The thought alone puts a lump in my throat.
I can't fathom the pain and devastation going through Kobe's wife, Vanessa, losing a husband and child on the same day, left to explain to their beautiful three girls that their father and sister are no longer here. My goodness. Let us also not forget the sting of the other families involved. This story is about as bad as it gets and I don't know if this numb feeling ever goes away.
The NBA All-Star Weekend begins in a few weeks and I am certain there will be a monumental ceremony commemorating Kobe Bryant's life. I've watched less and less of the All-Star festivities over the years and I will continue that trend in 2020. It is sure to be a tear jerker and there is simply no way I'll allow myself to endure that type of hurt. After experiencing a few heartbreaks in 2019 and now with this recent news, I think my eyes, mind, heart and soul could use a much needed break.
As words begin to escape me, it is probably best that I cut this short. But R.I.P. Kobe & Gianna Bryant and the other victims lost on that tragic day,