The death of celebrity figure, sports star, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna brought the world to an almost stop.
Across the globe people shared their heart break across social media and sports stars and celebrities alike joined in the mourning.
It’s been a long time since I played and watched basketball regularly, yet you don’t have to be a sports fan to either feel the shock or have respect.
Bryant was regarded not only as one of the most extraordinary players in basketball history but an inspiration to many in so many other ways, reflected in the respect shown at The Grammy’s with tributes from Lizza and an acapella from host Alicia Keys.
Bryant and his daughter were not the only fatality of that doomed chopper ride, with the families of the other 7 people killed left with such a significant void of their loved ones passing in such a sudden and unexpected manner.
Like others across the world who have experienced the same sudden loss, they wouldn’t have known the last conversation, the last interaction, they had, was destined as the last.
Every day someone, millions of someone’s, lose people close to them prematurely.
It can be a car accident, heart attack, suicide or dramatic catastrophic events such as the White Island volcanic eruption or the Australian bushfires, all in which the lives of so many are changed in an instant.
This threat is something that deep down we all know, that in the course of a lifetime, we will be faced with the unexpected finality of something, not always a death, yet certainly something unexpected, scarring or provocative of self reflection in their own way.
Some of which will break your heart in the same way as loss, whilst others will leave invisible scars that are somewhat slow to heal.
A hurried exit being ushered from the building of a business you’ve dedicated so much time and effort to. A final kiss you didn’t know would be the last.
Or even a last, mundane, pretty normal conversation that you’re left twisted about as you didn’t see the looming haunting of the heart that was coming given the other party was getting ready to cut off and simply ghost.
And even when we’re lucky enough to live a long, full and happy life, like Kirk Douglas making it to 103, there are other final moments that creep up on you when you least expect. And you’re left wondering when it actually happened.
As much as being asked for your ID is something you might find annoying when you’re younger, as you age you’re left pondering one day: when was the last time I was actually checked? And in that moment the passage of time, of life, ageing, that once seemed so distant, is now up close.
For others it’s realising that, suddenly, what was once a sporadic offer is now a regular occurrence as fellow passengers thinking them old or frail now as a standard offer up their seat. Where has the time gone?
When we’re young, all to frequently we live with greater risk and thinking nothing will ever happen and then a string of devastating final moments appear in one’s life.
These days we live in a cut off culture where people disconnect and block on a whim. All of which seems to make people less present, more guarded, a little more self-centered and selfish at times.
To live is to risk. To love is to risk. Everything in life carries risk, regardless whether it’s saying goodbye to your loved ones in a morning as they walk to the office or climbing aboard a helicopter.
It seems when we hear of premature deaths, especially shocking tragedies or the loss of a celebrity or the innocence of children; we’re reminded for a fleeting moment that something deep down in all of us is hard wired to already know. Life and time is precious. You really never know how much or how little of the movie is left to go.
Yet too many people live life where pride, ego, judgements, fears, insecurities or anger are triggered. Then they put up walls and barriers and keep them up far longer than required.
Arash Markazi, Los Angeles Times, made a comment about the last time he spoke with Kobe Bryant, asking him if he would be attending the season opening game in October between the Lakers and the Clippers.
Bryant apparently laughed and Arash makes comment that he knew Bryant wouldn’t be attending as Kobe had a more important game to attend on the same night at a school gym some 40 km’s away.
He’d be watching a volleyball game where another of his daughters, Natalia, was playing.
It seems to me that Kobe Bryant, in some ways then, had his priorities in check, his head screwed and understood well the significance of investing time in what’s important.
Of the quotes and tributes that have poured out across media, there is one that stands out for me and tells the story of Kobe Bryant as someone who observed that there is only one thing in life you can control.
‘You are responsible for how people will remember you – or don’t. So don’t take it lightly.’
The author Mark Twain wrote something equally profound ‘there isn’t time, so brief is life for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.’
Once you know something, you can’t not know it. To live is indeed a risk and there are times it hurts to be human. Yet to not live life in the present, or to not live a life of love is a greater risk. Life hurts a whole lot less when we learn to live in the present, speak our minds and be open minded and kinder with others.
Living your best life isn’t a meme, a filter or a hashtag. It’s a habit of human behavior.
Link to LA Times article referenced: