Rarely am I speechless, however, it is hard to conjure up the right words to say. The start of this week has been quite tragic. Sunday reading the news of Kobe Bryant and his daughter’s untimely passing in addition to the others has made me feel sorrowful. Hearing the story sent chills down my spine and flashed me back to October 24, 2015. I remember it like it was yesterday. Receiving a call from a close friend saying there had been a bad accident that claimed the lives of four young women. Who were those young women? They were my friends, classmates, and colleagues. It was abrupt, it was random, it rattled the Omaha community. I remember watching the news, witnessing them put my friends’ faces to the names of those young women whose lives were taken on that country road outside of Beatrice Nebraska, it was heartbreaking. You think to yourself why my friends? Why this way? Any loss of a loved one is tough, but an unexpected loss is agonizing. So, what happens next? Grieve!
One thing I wish people would’ve told me when I experienced major losses in my life was to take time to grieve. I get it “weeping may endure for a night and joy will come in the morning”. I also understand that we all live to die. However, amid one’s mourning, you don’t always want to hear Scriptures, people’s personal experience of losing a loved one, or people telling you things like “it was their time”. At least I didn’t. I am a believer in God don’t get me wrong but navigating a tragic loss was one of the most challenging things in my life. I didn’t understand the abruptness of it all and was left feeling betrayed by the “Most High God”. How many can relate?
Life is the most beautiful yet fragile thing anyone can experience. Some are here today and gone tomorrow. The loss of an NBA legend, his daughter and the others aboard that helicopter has shaken up our world. While deeply tragic I am sure it is bringing people closer together. Tragedies like this remind us to love harder and care deeper. Amid the sadness, I want to encourage us as a community to do a few things.
- Don’t try to understand why. Racking your brain for the reason that caused this freak accident will only leave you feeling more confused. Turn that curiosity into ways you can keep the lives of those lost legacy’s alive.
- Turn off the screens. The story of this untimely accident has been covered on all news channels, print media, and social media. This can be triggering for some who have similarly lost loved ones. So, give yourself time to be in the moment with those who mean the most to you. Shower yourself with love during this time.
- Be gentle with yourself. It is certainly normal to feel heavy-hearted when a tragedy like this occurs even if you don’t directly know the people whose lives were taken. Mourn their loss and know that what you are feeling is okay. If this story has you reminiscing on the loss of loved ones in your life take a moment to remember the good times you shared with them. I know for me this kind of tragedy reminded me of the randomness of my friends’ accident and bought up some awful feelings. Know it is okay to feel your feelings and cry if you need to!
- Remember grief is not a sprint it is a marathon. Grief doesn’t turn off as time goes on. When you lose someone you love you will always have an empty place in your heart for them. So, when people tell you to get over it or life goes on take that commentary with a grain of salt. Take all the time you need to heal, accept, and grieve.
- If you or anyone you know isn’t coping well with the loss of a loved one seek help. There are several different options including talk therapy, grief support groups, online social groups and more.
Don’t forget to take life one day at a time. Live without regret and be the best version of yourself you can be. You are still alive and breathing which means there’s more work for you to do, so get to it!