The loss of a legend

By Chanda Alicea

Dear Readers,

It is Sunday January 26th, 2020. I was fully prepared to send in a story about some things I have learned and wishes I have for everyone since becoming a dance mom, but I can’t. It doesn’t seem appropriate right now. In keeping to the authenticity of me, I wanted to write about what I am feeling. Like so many other people, I am in shock and reeling from the devastating news that hasn’t just impacted people across the country, but around the world. All day long since the news broke, I have seen my Instagram feed filled with nothing but memories and kind words from so many people I follow about Kobe Bryant.

I read a quote somewhere made by a celebrity speaking out and talking about how this loss is too big of a burden for Kobe’s family to bear alone, so we should stand with her and shoulder the burden too. That person isn’t wrong. Terrible things happen to good people and death is the most ultimate but also most unwelcomed teacher of all things. We all know that tomorrow isn’t promised. We all know that life is so very short, and we don’t really like to think about our own immortality, but when we see something like this, we’re forced to reexamine and reprioritize everything. Now you don’t have to be a fan, you don’t have to know the people who perished on that helicopter to be a compassionate human being and pray or send good vibes or what have you to all the people who have been impacted by this tragedy.

 In the grand scheme of things, I guess we are all impacted by this tragedy. It’s devastating and unexpected. It’s somewhat strange and surreal to mourn people you didn’t know. Truth be told, I don’t really follow sports, so I was not a fan, but that’s not to say that I didn’t admire the career he made for himself, the accomplishments he had and the grace and admiration he had and expressed to a fellow former colleague who surpassed one of his records. One of the most basic human and humble reactions you can have is to be content and happy enough in your life, that you can be happy for other people, especially once you are out of the game and ESPECIALLY when someone surpasses you.

Over the coming days and weeks even, we’re all going to continue to digest this event. We’ll continue to pray not just for Kobe and his sweet daughter, but for all those lives lost. We’re going to want an explanation. We’re going to look for understanding. Eventually the shock is going to wear off and we’ll all go on with our lives because no matter how much we all wish it would when we lose loved ones, the world doesn’t stop spinning.

No matter how old you are, one of the most important things to remember right now is that it’s okay to feel how you feel. As I mentioned before, I wasn’t a fan, and a lot of people weren’t either, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel this. I feel this. I’m shaken to the core. My heart feels heavy. My day has felt off since I heard the news, and to be honest when my partner told me TMZ broke the news, I didn’t believe him. When I was in the grocery store, I passed by an employee and customer discussing the news. Upon checking out, the cashier and bagger were discussing the news. When you are somewhere and see that everyone you don’t know is also talking about it, that really speaks to the impact that this event has had. I could go on and on about the difference between this and mourning the loss of other “celebrities” I have admired.

I mean to be honest, I loved Robin Williams so much that I still can’t really watch Aladdin without crying, because I’m a grown woman who isn’t ashamed to admit that the Genie is her favorite Disney character. I cried during the last two Star Wars movies because I was devastated by the passing of Carrie Fisher. But this is different, as a parent, I’m overwhelmed with emotion to be honest. In an instant, two young lives (so far confirmed) were taken away too soon. I can’t even begin to fathom this type of loss. I look at my daughter and have such a bittersweet feeling today while doing the everyday things we do. There’s a whole family who is instantly gone that no longer gets to do those things. There’s a mother/wife and daughters/sisters who had their whole life change in an instant and will never get to do any routine daily things with their dad/husband and daughter/sister again.

 I’m just going to go ahead and say what we are all feeling and thinking. THIS SUCKS AND LIFE’S NOT FAIR. I don’t really have anything else to give in closing. Other than the cliché, I don’t really think that there are pearls of wisdom to impart here. I can only echo what others have said which is that his legacy was so much more than basketball. Remember to not judge how others around you feel and react to this, it’s not our place to judge. We’re all going to wake up tomorrow and wish that this was just a bad dream, but since unfortunately it isn’t, find something that gives you peace and love. Find something that brings you a moment of happiness in an otherwise time of gloom. Don’t be afraid to talk to each other or even your kids if they have questions and are at an age of understanding, since this is something we can’t shield them from forever. Hug your people a little tighter. Don’t hesitate to express your love, even if it means loving your people a little harder. Appreciate what and who you have. Live with no regrets.