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What we can learn from loss.


What we can learn from loss.

Our nation, our world, lost one of its icons this week with the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his beautiful daughter, Gianna. The subject of death, of loss, of sudden and overwhelming change affects each of us differently. 

As television, print and social media began to release waves of the world’s sentiment, I could feel the collective swell of grief grow exponentially. And as people’s responses rolled across my feed, I couldn’t help but think back to other losses that I had personally experienced, other losses that we had experienced together as a nation. 

As I looked back on the majority of my own life, I realized how easily death had triggered me to return, instantly, to the feeling place of my most profound loss—the open emotional wound compounded by another slice of life’s unexpected blade of physical severance. I realized how easy it would be to not only feel the loss of a brilliant sport’s legend, father, role model, but rather the cumulative loss of all of those I had previously mourned over a lifetime of being in this human body, this physical realm. 

Present loss can feel bigger, heavier, more overwhelming when we have not taken steps to move through the grief of past losses. When I had not processed, not fully grieved the unspeakable death of my only sister, Sary, every additional loss felt like a tsunami of unprocessed fear, sadness, and anger. If we do not take the time to fully grieve those we have loved and lost—either through death or physical separation—then tragedies such as Kobe’s have the potential to move any one of us from feelings of deep sadness and compassion for his surviving loved ones to terrifying fear of our own mortality, our own intimate loss. 

Difficult events like his offer brilliant, albeit very painful, opportunities to do our own emotional work; to traverse our own emotional wounds; to heal our hearts; to sew our fissured souls together; to take an raw, honest, open look at all that we have been through in life, and to love ourselves for our own perfect imperfection. 

We have the opportunity to love those who have blessed our lives with their magnificent presence—no matter how short or long their stay in these physical bodies. We are all here for a different amount of time, and as the brightly burning light of Kobe’s life has shown us, there is no time like the present to really start living. The time is NOW to start doing everything that we want to do, dive-in to each moment, feel with our entire soul, love with our whole heart, live with our full spirit—jump into the beautiful life that we have been given. 

For, we are here to feel, to create, to connect in each moment, to live every day, for as long as we can. May Kobe’s family be surrounded by love, and may we all feel the love surrounding each of us.