The news of NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s sudden and tragic passing shocked the world on January 26, 2020 (US Time). For a basketball-loving country like the Philippines, we are all affected by it regardless if we are fans of Kobe and the game or not.
I, for one, am not a fan of Kobe’s nor am I big follower of basketball or the NBA. I would only cheer for teams and players that my husband are also rooting for. Yet, I can feel the sadness that envelopes my friends who are big fans of Kobe. My heart is bleeding for them because I could only imagine how it must feel to know that the person you’ve always looked up to is now gone.
I can feel the sadness of everyone who knew and admired Kobe, but my heart is breaking the most for his wife of 18 years, Vanessa Bryant.
Losing a husband is a great ordeal. When two people fall in love and marry, they become like a single person. You live together, you think together, you make dreams together, you work on making those dreams happen together, you go through problems together, you raise a family together, and you commit to love each other forever. You’re like two parts of a machine that won’t work without the other.
Then, suddenly, you lose that other half of you and you struggle to figure out your next move. You wonder without a single clue how to move forward on your own. You grapple with the reality that for the rest of your life you will never get to wake up next to that person again, see him smile, talk to him when you have problems, talk to him when you are happy, listen to him laugh, feel his warm embrace and kisses, and watch him become the man that he was always meant to be.
You are left alone, without a partner, without the person you were meant to share life with, without the person you promised to love and love you back. You carry a heavy burden on your own, but in the history of widows, we have seen a great deal of women move on and rise above the situation. Sure, the wounds take time to heal, but in the right time, they find happiness again.
However, what makes this story even more heartbreaking is that Vanessa also lost her 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria Onore Bryant in the same tragic helicopter crash that took her husband’s life. I could not even begin to imagine how hearing about the tragedy must’ve felt for her.
Losing a daughter, a child, a baby you carried in your body and in your heart is absolutely and utterly… devastating. Honestly, that last word is not even enough to describe the horror that you wouldn’t wish to happen to anyone, even your worst enemy.
A promising young talent, Gianna, or Gigi as she was fondly called, was only beginning to carve out her path as a female basketball superstar. She had just entered her teenage years–the period in a girl’s life when her mom gets to take on a new hat as a life mentor, a role model for what a woman should be, and a best friend whom she can share her thoughts with.
I could only assume how much Vanessa was looking forward to take her daughter’s hand as she goes through puberty, gossip about the cute boys in school, give her fashion and beauty advice, give her a taste of her first cocktail, help her pick out her prom dress, see her off for her first date, and many other wonderful things. Now all that is gone and even though she has two other young daughters to share those things with, it won’t be the same as doing them with Gigi.
When a woman loses her husband, she becomes a widow, but when she loses a child, there is nothing to call her. Having to outlive your child is such and indescribable anomaly that none of the world’s greatest minds in all the centuries of human civilization have been able to come up with a single word to call it. Like the thought of it alone is too sickening to even think about.
While I have so much thoughts and feelings about this, the only thing we can all do at this point is to pray for Vanessa Bryant. Pray that she finds the strength and will to go on for herself and her three other daughters, that she finds a solid support system to help her go through all of this, that she finds peace and healing, and that she keeps her faith especially at this trying time.
May the souls of Kobe and Gianna and the seven others who perished in the crash rest in peace. And to Vanessa, from one wife and mother to another, my heart goes out to you. Stay strong.
All photos grabbed from Kobe Bryant’s Instagram @kobebryant