Kobe died on my brother’s 30th birthday.
His daughter, Gigi, also died that day. And her friends and his colleagues.
On Sunday afternoon, I saw that someone had posted a photo of Kobe, captioned, “Rest in Peace Kobe.” I thought it was a joke, and I quickly googled for Kobe news. Sure enough, a couple of articles started popping up about his death. Even then, I didn’t believe it. I was sure it was a hoax.
Then articles about the death of Gigi started appearing. That was when my heart sank into my stomach. She was only 13. Her life was just beginning.
I’m not really a Lakers fan. I don’t even like basketball. I pretty much have absolutely no interest in sports, but I have always appreciated and respected all the hard work and persistence of the players. Family, on the other hand, that touches me to my core.
I have this habit of needing to know how and why things happen. As a result, I do my research to find the information I’m looking for. The more I read into the helicopter accident, the more I keep picturing those last few minutes and seconds before the fatal crash.
How scared everyone must have been, and how helpless all the parents on board must have felt.
What were the last words that were exchanged?
Was there even time to hold hands or give each other a huge hug before the crash?
What and when was the last conversation with their spouses, parents, siblings, children, and friends?
I put myself in the shoes of Kobe during that flight and the feeling of helplessness is overwhelming. I put myself in the shoes of his wife, Vanessa, and I feel like I wouldn’t want to live. I put myself in the shoes of Natalia, Kobe’s eldest daughter, and I can feel the heartbreak of losing your hero of a Dad and your sister companion. I put myself in the shoes of the Altobelli’s son and other daughter who were left behind, and I can’t even imagine losing both of your parents and little sister all at once.
What’s so heart-wrenching to me about this whole event is that everyone was so, so young. Everyone still had so much life to live, so much more to accomplish, and so much more impact to make on this world. Kobe was just beginning the second, also very inspirational part of his life, and his daughter was just in the beginning stages of carrying on his legacy. What an incredibly sweet father-daughter relationship we will no longer be able to witness.
This tragedy really put things into perspective for me. My mental health (or lack thereof) includes anxiety as a major component, but that really stems from lack of control. If I would just let loose a bit and stop being such a control freak, maybe I would have less anxiety, and maybe I would enjoy motherhood a bit more.
Because in the end, does it really matter if my kids don’t do exactly as I say, at the exact moment I ask them to? Does it really matter if they don’t want to eat what I put in front of them this time? Does it really matter if they’re stalling like crazy and not getting into their carseats? Does it really matter if they don’t want to get ready for bed and want to run around screaming like maniacs?
No, it doesn’t. It might be unbearably annoying, but it doesn’t really matter. Because at the end of the day, they are still happy, healthy, alive, and well.
Rest in peace, Kobe, Gigi, John, Keri, Alyssa, Christina, Sarah, Payton, & Ara.
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