I’m Looking for the Good in this Great Loss: A Reflection on Kobe’s Death
It felt different. It feels different. It don’t make sense. Kobe Bryant dying in a helicopter crash with his daughter, Gianna and 7 other people. Shit is wild to type out. It was wild to hear. A month later, it’s wild to even be saying it and knowing it’s real.
After watching the memorial for Kobe and Gigi, I’m sitting here drained and spent. Yes, people die every day. Celebrities who we love pass on and we grieve them. This one feels different. It feels chaotic in a way where it feels like the Earth moved wrong one day and something that wasn’t supposed to happen happened. Something in the destiny line went wonky and something happened that was not supposed to. Something that even the cosmos are shocked about. This is how this feels. When Michael Jackson died, it shook us. When Whitney died, we wailed. When Prince died, it felt like the spoke of life was slightly misaligned. When Kobe died, it felt like Earth turned upside down.
I can’t put my finger on it and don’t even know if I’m making sense. All I know is this feels like chaos.
And because I insist on it, I have to find meaning in this occurring. I have to. Because if I go down the rabbit hole of the fact that life might just be happening, with no plans and no patterns and no sense, I might not leave this floor I’m sitting on.
There has to be a silver lining, in Vanessa Bryant losing her husband and daughter, the NBA losing its next Hall of Famer, Hollywood losing an Academy-Award filmmaker who was upcoming, countless people losing their friend and confidante, and the world losing a man who had immense power and was insisting on spending the rest of his life using it for the betterment of society.
There has to be.
And in this turmoil, all I can see is that the death of Kobe has broken the hearts of Black men open in a way I have never seen before. Black men have been able to openly show pain, publicly, unabashedly for the first time ever. Brothers everywhere have spoken about weeping in public, at work, on the shoulders of their fellow man as they grieved the death of someone they loved, honored and adored. Michael Jordan got on the podium in the Staples Center and gave a snot-nosed eulogy to his little brother, letting the tears fall unencumbered.
This is a moment. This is different. It is like they’ve gotten permission to be vulnerable, human, shakeable species who don’t have to always keep it together. I hope Black men realize that they are worth mourning, worth crying over and worth loving. I hope they know that they don’t only need to wait for heart-wrenching and devastating tragedies to emote.
Black men are worth celebrating, above all else. Kobe’s death has been Earth-shaking. There has to be something good to come from it.
And if what will come from it is that men everywhere understand that you can be the machoest man in the world, while prioritizing the well-being of the women and girls in your life, championing their goals and dreams while speaking power into their lives, then maybe this isn’t just a chaotic event of random.
Maybe Kobe’s death can show that your life can truly transcend your worst moments. Maybe finding out in Kobe’s death that he was an even better husband and father than he was a basketball player, the men who need it will receive permission that their legacy isn’t just in the money they make and how good they are at their jobs.
I don’t know. I’m looking for some good in all of this and this is what I came up with. For my own soul care, I need to believe something grander will come from losing someone so great.
May we all live a life where when we are gone, the world feels the gap we left, because we left the world better than we found it. That’s clearly what Kobe did.
You found the words, Luvvie. Thank you so much for this.
It’s been hard and it doesn’t feel real. This is the first time in my lifetime I have seen black men, collectively, brokenhearted. And is it the reason? To let them see it is OK to weep and show vulnerability, and they would not be judged? But more than that, they would not care what others thought about how they expressed their grief? There has to be something that comes from this.
“And if what will come from it is that men everywhere understand that you can be the machoest man in the world, while prioritizing the well-being of the women and girls in your life, championing their goals and dreams while speaking power into their lives, then maybe this isn’t just a chaotic event of random.”
Luvvie, God bless and keep you for this poetic and poignant message that gives voice to so many of our silent cries.
I just watched your ted talk on, “get comfortable being uncomfortable!” Brilliant conversation and thank you for sharing . . . showing that it’s okay to be the domino where ever you are, whoever you are, and however old you are! Part of what I took was that we are perfectly made just as we are and we ought to step into that making it such that it’s not “revolutionary,” but rather a very normal thing! Be unapologetically you/me and live life at the edge of the airplane and don’t look back! If we can say, “Did we mean it, Can we defend it and did we say it with Love,” we have a beautiful litmus test for being that domino in any situation that needs attention brought to it!