I cannot stop thinking of Vanessa Bryant. I woke up and the first thing that came to my mind was her waking up that first morning without her husband and daughter. The realization she must be having that this was not a bad dream. This is real. The life she built for herself. All gone in a split second. To lose a husband is hard to recover from. To lose a husband and a daughter at the same time is unimaginable. Right now, Vanessa is living all of our worst fears. Losing a spouse, losing a child, it’s our worst fear coming to reality.
My phone keeps buzzing with texts.
“Heartbreaking. I can’t believe it.”
“I’m in shock. Makes me realize how fragile life is.”
All I keep thinking is how will she get up today. Tomorrow? How will she even get up out of bed? What am I talking about? She didn’t even make it to the bed. She is still on the floor. This is when you are on the floor, asking God to make it all stop. Begging to go back in time. How does she even get up off the floor? How do you get up when your world is not the same as you left it minutes before?
The truth is she has no choice.
The world will keep going. It will not stop for her, for us, for anyone. Things will intensify as decisions need to be made, and plans for the future. She has no choice but to go on, for her daughters if nothing else. She is a mother and by definition, she will survive this for her children’s sake. Moms know, no matter what happens, we keep going. We know she will have to take children to school, make dinner, help with homework, but for now she is on the floor, and we’ve all been there. She will get through this with the support of family and friends because no one can do this alone. No matter how much money you have, nothing can make this better. It just is.
Today I am not on the floor, but I’ve been there. I have suffered through infertility. I have left the hospital without a baby and sat by his side there for 52 endless days. I have watched my son go through unimaginable pain from a botched surgery. I have been brought to my knees more than once in my family, my marriage, and in my life. I know the floor well.
When I woke up this morning and saw my smiling children, I felt grateful. When my husband was making coffee in the kitchen, I was happy to see him. When I dropped my son at his bus for school, I waved to Tenisse, his bus driver, grateful that she brings him to school safely each day. Today I am grateful. Thank you, Vanessa, for giving me that reminder.
No one dies without a legacy. Kobe Bryant’s legacy is 20 years with the Lakers, drafted at 17 out of high school, 5 championship rings, 2 Olympic gold medals, but even with all of this, he would give anything to have more time with his family. To watch his daughter Gianna play basketball. To be with his newborn daughter Capri. His ultimate legacy is his beautiful family.
What can we do? We may not know Vanessa, but what can we do in our own lives? We can LOVE HARDER. We can be GRATEFUL for every day we wake up, arrive safe, and sleep peacefully. We can REACH OUT to others who are grieving and who need help. We can CHOOSE RESILIENCE. Choose to HEAL. We can be THERE FOR EACH OTHER, because we will all know how it feels to be ON THE FLOOR, but we also know we are not alone.