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Kobe Bryant died yesterday. Gigi Bryant yesterday. Three members of the same family died yesterday. A pilot died yesterday. A serviceman died yesterday. A policeman died yesterday. A doctor died yesterday. A teacher died yesterday. A priest died yesterday. A homeless man died yesterday. A young adult died yesterday. A father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a friend, a colleague, a neighbor…a stranger died yesterday.

Death is all around us. You can’t drive far without seeing a funeral home, most often with cars outside of it if not people going in and out paying their respects. Many people go into hospitals, not all of them leave alive. Sometimes nursing homes have ambulances bringing people to live, other times they are taking them away. Death is inevitable but we do our best to avoid it.

It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok that it hurts. It’s ok to feel uneasy and not sure why you feel the way you do. It’s ok to be numb. It’s ok to be bothered but not as sad as others. Your feelings are yours but remember, others feelings are there’s as well.

How could someone like Kobe Bryant be dead? How could his beautiful young daughter be gone? Same reason why adults are taken from us far “too soon.” Same reason why kids die in hospitals across this country every day. Same reason why parents are left without their children and children lose their parents. There is no set formula. There are no guarantees.

One of the greatest challenges and obstacles my children had to overcome is that everything is on the table. There is no, “that will never happen.” Trey died. He was six. It was a miracle (though they didn’t know it) that he made it THAT long. Kids die, parents can die, THEY can die. Brutal truth. Horrific reality.

However, with that comes a hidden blessing. You can be ok. You can face the worst life has to offer and still survive…even thrive.

Many, if not most, people have not had to come to that realization yet. They still fear the grip of death and avoid the topic at all costs. Events like yesterday rob them of that privilege. If but for one day they will have to realize/remember that our days are finite. They will have to admit that they have no idea their total number of days allotted to them. They will pledge to appreciate their loved ones and give grace in all relationships…for a time. Then, the emotions of the day will begin to outweigh the lessons from yesterday until they are jerked back to the inevitable reality once again….and that’s ok too.

Then there are some who like to point out why you shouldn’t feel the way you do. They are quick to say that the other people I mentioned in the first paragraph matter more (or at least equal to) Kobe and his daughter. The reality is that all life is precious and none of it guaranteed. Those trying to tell you how to feel are only acting out of their own hurts as well. Maybe one of their loved ones are represented by that other group. Maybe they have a need to be appreciated for intellect and moral understanding. Maybe they just like the attention.

Then there are those who like to bring down those who have died. There are those who say that we have to look at “the totality” of the person who passed and examine them at their worst moments. These folks have an intense need for respect (they are so professional) attention (look at how controversial I am) and belonging (I am such a great writer) that the hurtful ramifications of their words do not enable them to change. They deserve grace as well. No one that cold and callous is without huge hurts.

So as we grieve and face the fact that death is final, inevitable, and non discriminatory let’s remember that it does hurt. It hurts different people differently. It is not for us to judge how much is SHOULD hurt, it just does. For some it scares and hurts. For others it provides a deep heavy sadness. Regardless, your emotions and burdens are yours and you are entitled to them.

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