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  • Writer's pictureDr. Tyffani Dent

The Death of Kobe: On The Intimacy of Grief

Today, Kobe Bryant, his daughter and several others died in a plane crash. Being that I am not a sports fan and never followed Kobe or his career (although, in my limited sports knowledge, he, Michael Jordan, Shaq, and later Lebron would be my “go-to” names if anyone ever asked me to name NBA players)----For me, his passing does not “pull” strong emotions, but I truly believe it is a combination of my limited following of his life and the fact that in my chosen profession, I unfortunately have to compartmentalize tragedies on a daily basis.

Yet, I also know that others are truly grieving.

Not only are thoughts sent to his wife, children, family and his close friends, but to those whose lives were marked by Kobe Career Moments.

Grief is a personal thing, and it is not anyone’s place to determine when someone should feel it.

For some, Kobe’s rise inspired their own sports aspirations, even when they did not reach the heights that he did.

For others, Sprite became their soda, because Kobe said it should be so.

Many looked at his ability to own his mistakes, learn from them, make amends, and move forward as proof that one could do just that.

For many girls, his words about valuing his daughters and not wistfully insisting that only a son would make his fatherhood journey complete---quieted the societal messages that they were “not good enough”.

He showed others what retirement should look like---that you embrace it, make memories with those who matter, and delight in every chance to live

Even in this moment, for some, it is not about Kobe at all---but instead about the taking of a life in its prime,

the remembrance of losing their own loved ones too soon,

the need to be PRESENT in every moment---to savor it, to love, to laugh, to not put off things and people that bring you joy

All of these matter

All of these pull for deep sorrow


Memories of what was and what failed to be

Each of these deserves the space and time to process

The intimacy of experiencing grief within whatever context causes it

Take your time

Take your tissue

Take your stories/memories

Sit in them

And those who are not experiencing it as deeply

Just listen and be there

In the stillness

Written 1/26/2020

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