As I mourned the passing of Kobe Bryant, their daughter Gianna and the other 7 loved ones with lives lost on Sunday, January 26, 2020, with the rest of the world. I stopped to say a prayer of continued strength for a woman that I did not know.
My husband, daughter and I were celebrating our new baby boy at our rainbow prism baby shower that Sunday. While celebrating our new baby boy we remembered our son that passed away last year and unborn child a week later. I don’t know what it is like to lose a husband, but I do know what it’s like to lose a child. The pain is seemingly unbearable. I found myself asking when you are the backbone of the family and you want to break whom do you look for to be that back brace? I turned to my faith in God and much-needed grief therapy.
I didn’t need to know this woman to know that the pain that we feel for the loss of her family is incomparable to what she would feel. On an extremely small scale, I had to fight false reports around my son’s death and even accomplishments over his life. Being a basketball star at his high school brought small-town publicity to the circumstances of his death. On a small scale, I found myself calling newspapers to threaten defamation of character on the reports for my son. Having to speak to coroners’ offices, detectives, firefighters, and other administrator officials was beyond taxing on a small scale. On a larger scale to be able to handle something like that especially when unexpected requires an incredibly strong woman at a time where strength feels like a nonexisting word.
As I was looking for interviews to know more about her I realized it was more than okay that I couldn’t find much directly from her mouth because her husband edified her every chance he could get. Without knowing her I could tell that she absolutely held the family down and held them together. With the multitude of businesses that ran I could only imagen the countless conversations of ideas he passed to her, the communication on how the family would be organized as he traveled and the caring support he received on good days and bad.
When you are the backbone of your family and pieces of your vertebrae slip how do you continue? I don’t know. What I do know is the day that I lost my son and the pain felt when deep down I knew I had miscarried was unexplainable. I let out a yell from the bottom of my soul and then immediately went to care for the rest of my family. When you are the backbone you have your moments. How do you move forward? Well, you just do, it is already ingrained in you.
My prayers of continued strength are with you, Mrs. Vanessa Bryant. The valves of your hearts will never be replaced, but for your kids and yourself it will continue to beat again and again.
From Kobe Bryant regarding his relationship with death: “It’s a comfortable one. It’s an understanding. You can’t have life without death. Can’t have light without the dark. So it’s an acceptance of that. When it came time to decide whether or not I should retire, [it was] really an acceptance of that mortality that all athletes face. And if you combat it, you’ll always have that inner struggle within yourself. … So … I’m comfortable with it.”
May His Peace be with you. Until you meet again.
UPDATE FROM MRS. VANESSA BRYANT:
My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.
“We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately.
“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon.
“I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever.
“Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality.
“To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org.
“To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org.
“Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family”