Why Does It Take Death To Remind Us How To Live?
The shocking and sudden death of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven other wonderful human beings in a helicopter crash Sunday morning (Jan. 26), brought the whole world together in mourning. Our mourning was for the families of those that were killed and the lives that were lost.
Although one life is no more important than any other, the fact that Kobe Bryant was killed, someone we all felt like we all knew personally, made it more real to us. The story was published on every media outlet and social media website because Kobe Bryant and his daughter were killed in the accident. Otherwise, sadly, the story would have been only a local LA news story if a celebrity hadn't been on board.
Because we felt connected to Kobe and his family, we collectively became overwhelmed with empathy. We started thinking about how tragic and unthinkable it would be to have this happen in our own lives and relationships. In that day and the days that have followed, we rushed to talk, text, kiss, and squeeze those we hold dear to our heart. We were all reminded of what is really important in our lives. It's not money, stuff, or anything other than those we love.
My family lives in many different parts of the country, so we started a text group to share the things that happen in our lives. That day, we shared these texts...
I sent this text as I cried thinking about how blessed I am to have my family.
You know death happens all around us. Why does it take death to remind us how we should be living? Even though we hear of people in our own community and know people in our own families whose lives have ended too soon, suddenly and unexpectedly, it still never really seems to sink in. Things like this happen all of the time, bad things that make us count our blessings and bad things that brings us together.
We all experience loss and are affected differently. Death seems to give us life epiphanies: thoughts and feelings we can not deny. Yet, time dulls the emotions of the immediate moment and we begin to, once again, forget to cherish and begin to take advantage of the blessings we have been given. Whether it be the passing of a sports icon, co-worker, pet, friend, family member, sibling, parent or child, death makes us take notice, take inventory and a hope that we change, for the better, in the years to come, but often, we do not.
After the passing of my mom, I examined my life and its meaning. I faced my own mortality. I wondered if I was living my life in a way that was a reflection of how she had lived her life, yet still living in my own unique way. Giving as much as she gave and then some more. How could I be, to the people in my life, what she was to me? How could I do better? I made commitments to myself to be better, to take more time, to appreciate the gifts I have been given, stop holding grudges, forgive more, not only listen but hear what people say, be more positive, work out, etc.
But, during the last three years, I have lost focus on my commitments. I've been better at some and worse at others. I lost my way. When she passed, I was given the job of matriarch of the family. Yet, until Sunday, I had never sent my nieces and nephews a text telling them goodnight and I love you. Last night, I did.
When 9/11 happened, we were all one country. After 265 people, on the four planes, 2,606 people in the World Trade Center and in the surrounding area, and 125 people at the Pentagon were killed, we were stood as one. We weren't different parties, different states, different counties, towns or even families, we were one. The spirit flowing through the county was made up of kindness, respect, and honor. Time, power and the need to be right, have allowed us to lose those feelings.
My sister sent me a link to this amazingly insightful Facebook post that I want to share with you.
As we all should, Kobe Bryant lived a life filled with doing what he loved, following his dreams, bringing people together in a positive way, helping others with kindness, and most importantly loving his family. Through his death and other deaths we have experienced, we are reminded how we SHOULD be living everyday. Let's try NOT to forget the things we learn.