The tragic death of Kobe and eight others from Orange County, has transformed this international story into a local one for us in the OC. I have yet to speak with anyone locally, who did not have a story about one or more of the victims. I did not personally know any of the victims, and I did see Kobe in a Newport Beach restaurant some years back. We did not speak – we just made eye-contact and did the male nod of the head. He was always so generous with his smile. In that moment, it felt personal.
Grief is personal and communal – because love is personal and communal. When we have opened our hearts to let anyone inside, their absence, through death or choice, is always personal. Our vulnerability has allowed a deepening of a connection, a personal connection to another. And while we were connecting on a personal level, others were doing the same. Not exactly in the same way, but similar enough that we can recognize our communal loss of that same person.
In order to further clarify our individual and communal loss, we tell our stories of how this same person influenced and impacted our lives. It is what we do as humans to help us find meaning of both life and death. And when we tell the stories, we honor our personal connection in a communal way. Knowing that others have experienced something similar, eases our personal grief and reminds us that we are not alone in our vulnerability for grief. Let’s keep loving.
“Honor the presence of the other person.”