Kobe Bryant, the basketball player died suddenly a week ago in a terrible helicopter crash and the world has been publicly grieving, the likes of which I haven’t seen since the passing of Princess Diana.
I live in Los Angeles so it’s right in your face, you can’t avoid it. Memorials are popping up everywhere and especially at the Staples Center where he spent his career. They call it “the house that Kobe built.” Memorials grow every hour and people have flocked there from all over to pay their respects and just mourn together.
One can easily be cynical over this. How can anyone grieve someone they’ve never met? How superficial many say. If you do a google search on the subject, you’ll find article after article on the topic. You typically get two points of view: Celebrity worship or the dead celebrity represented an ideal, something you hoped that you could be.
For the bereaved community I look at this in a different light.
The bereaved immediately join a club they never wanted to join. And because no one prepares us for grief, the bereaved find comfort when they meet others who walk in their shoes and it’s an instant instinct to reach out because you know what its like to lose a loved one.
This instant instinct to reach out to the bereaved is exaggerated if there’s a commonality: a mother who loses a child; a 37-year-old mother who loses a daughter; a 37-year-old mother who loses a husband and a daughter; a 37-year-old mother who loses a husband and a 13-year-old daughter. The scenarios go on and on and on.
The first time I met another widow I immediately felt an instant connection and wanted to do whatever I could to help her with the grief journey and give her tips on what helped me along the way. No one gives you a manual for grief so millions the world over, young, old, rich, poor, grieve the loss of their loved ones without a clue of what to do. Death does not discriminate!
So, I say its okay to grieve Kobe Bryant. I’m a widow, I too lost the love of my life in an instant and ever since that tragic Saturday in March 2013 I have made it my quest to help other widows and bring comfort to the bereaved because I walk in the shoes.