This weekend I went to Massachusetts for one of my best friend’s wedding. I got to be a part of the wedding I heard about for months. It was such a high highlight of my 2020 so far. I left Massachusetts with feelings of love, appreciation for the friendships I have and made, and feeling thankful for the people in my life. Seeing my best friend take on a new milestone in life made me excited and hopeful for my own future – not only in love, but career wise and life in general.
Christian and I got to the airport ready to head back to San Francisco at the crack of dawn east coast time. I was on cloud nine, you know, that feeling that lingers when you come back from a vacation / great hangout. I kept telling him how much fun I had and how sad I was that it was over. It was truly a fun and exciting little get away to the east coast. It was my first time in Massachusetts, and our Airbnb was a huge house in Salem. There was snow, we explored the area, and I got to travel across the country with my best friend.
We touched down in San Francisco around 11:30 am. Everytime I go to the east coast and return back home, I always make the comment that I’m/ we are time traveling because of the time difference. We got our bags from baggage claim and took the journey to the app ride share area in SFO. Our Uber finally arrived.
A couple minutes into the ride Christian turns around, “Kobe died…” he said in shock.
“What?” A mixture of disbelief and thinking I’m hearing the information wrong. He had to repeat it about 3 more times for it to process in my head.
“Kobe Bryant. He died in a helicopter crash,” he told me.
“What the fuckkkk, damn…” I was incredibly sad and shocked, this can’t be real. The legend I rooted against every single time growing up because he was just too good. I was definitely the definition of a “hater,” because of the Golden State Warriors & Los Angeles Lakers rivalry. At a time where the Warriors were dubbed the worst team in the NBA, I cringed everytime I watched a Warriors game versus the Lakers, because I knew Kobe would do his thing. But my loyalty was/is strong, and I was Golden State faithful all the way, resulting in an adolescent obsession with rivalries and despising the opposing teams. Anyways, despite my past views, I was truly saddened. The news literally made my heart sink. What a tragedy. He was way too young.
My phone was on airplane mode the whole flight. And once Christian told me the tragic news, my phone started to blow up. Group chat after group chat, text messages, notifications left and right coming full force onto my phone. It was the topic of conversation in my personal life, and on social media. My family group chat on Instagram was going off, cousins sending screenshots, and news articles. By the minute, new information was trickling in. This didn’t seem like real life. I could only imagine how his family felt.
I first wondered how Vanessa must be feeling, how in just an instant her world would never be the same. It made me sick. And then I thought about his daughters. I stumbled across his Instagram a while back and stalked. It made me happy to see that he finally got to be more present in his family’s lives after retiring. I remember being shocked that he actually had 4 daughters, because the last time I stalked, B was still the youngest. It was beautiful to see that he and his wife were having a round 2 of the parent life now that he was retired. It made me genuinely happy for them. I thought of how thrilled his wife must’ve been to know that all the traveling and time apart would finally be over, to finally have her husband’s time to herself and to his girls.
Update after update. This time saying that his 2nd eldest daughter, Gigi, was in the helicopter with him. They had reported earlier that nobody survived the crash. My heart was broken. No way. This can’t be real. Please be a mistake.
I was unaware of Kobe and Gigi’s relationship and bond prior to their passing. But let me tell you, when all that media started circling the internet, and I saw their relationship just through photographs, I couldn’t take it. My heart is so heavy. And then I thought back to Vanessa Bryant. The pain to know that your partner and lover is gone is devastating. But to also lose a child at the same time? Look, that’s a new level of pain and sorrow, and my heart truly breaks for her. I pray that her and her girls find strength through this nightmare.
It pains me to know that his daughters have to some how carry on with their lives. That the younger 2 girls will only have photographs. Their pain is all I could think about since I learned of the news. It pains me to know they’re going through such a tragic event in the public’s eye.
My stomach gets sick when I imagine what the final moments on that helicopter was like. A parent’s worst nightmare. Just thinking about it makes my heart race and my stomach turn. Did they realize what was happening? What was being said? Those final moment scenarios are torturing me. I picture him embracing his baby girl, knowing in that moment that “this was it.” How helpless he must’ve felt, how scared and heartbroken he was knowing that he could do nothing.
Everyone I know – fan or not – is so shaken up by this tragedy. Nobody deserves to go out like that. Baby girl was so young and had her whole life to live. Not to forget the other passengers on the plane. I’m seeing photos of all who were on board, and my heart hurts. So many families in pain. So many people around the world grieving.
That just shows the impact that Kobe Bryant had. Strangers who didn’t even know him, but looked up to him, are grieving. Fan or not, you can’t help but be completely torn when you heard the news.
This tragedy is making a lot of people realize that tomorrow is never guaranteed. Unfortunately, we put ourselves in his family’s shoes, and realize that we need to be more grateful for our loved ones. Tragedies like this remind us that we need to leave nothing unsaid, though sometimes that’s a lot easier said than done. There is a veil of grief right now over the world. The passing of all those on board of that helicopter is too much to process. Everyone is feeling immense sadness and really reevaluating what’s important in life.
I was wondering what to write for this week’s blog post. But I couldn’t think of anything because all I was thinking about was this tragedy. I took out my deck of cards that I got for Christmas. I started flipping through prompts. Nothing felt worth while. I didn’t want to write. I wanted to wallow in my sorrows and feel these emotions. I came across a card prompt that read:
“What isn’t fair right now?”
This. This situation that’s unfolding right now. This isn’t fair.
My heart and prayers go out to his wife, kids, family, friends, & the family and friends of those on board. Rest in peace Kobe & Gigi Bryant. Your legacy will live on and be fulfilled through your family.