Sadness Over Loss of Kobe Leads to Important Talk
It was the story that you couldn't avoid today. Kobe Bryant, basketball superstar, had died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles. It was a conversation that my son and I spent a lot of time on.
My son is 11-years-old, and in 6th Grade. He has been fortunate that he has not experienced much loss in his life so far. He really has only dealt with the death of a great-grandma, but funerals and the sadness of a sudden death from someone he cares about really haven't been part of his experience.
The loss of Kobe was something that he struggled to make sense of. How could someone so young die? How was it possible that one of his daughters would be with him? What would his wife and other kids be feeling?
My son is a very empathic person - he feels deeply whenever someone is hurting and in pain, so his primary focus was on the emptiness that must be felt by the surviving family members. He was also surprise something so dark could happen to someone who seemingly "had it all."
It was that second point that we focused in on. This awful accident is a reminder, albeit a dark one, that we are never promised another day. We discussed how the awareness of how fortunate we are is a way to honor the experience we have. We discussed how we can sometimes take for granted that we will have a "next time" with those we love, and we talked about living life in a way that recognizes the gifts of those we care about.
He left our conversation just as sad as he was when we began, but also with a sense that the most important things in our lives are not material. He also seemed to really get that even those who seemingly "have it all," can lose things just as quickly as the rest of us.