Endow the Living– with the Tears–You squander on the Dead. — Emily Dickinson
I feel like I have been forced to speak of Kobe Bryant’s unfortunate death of late. He was a talented athlete and a notable figure. I remember his name popping up quite often during write ups. There is no denying his tenure.
But I must criticize us; in our producing of tears. I feel like they are misplaced. As Emily Dickinson had said in the poem I quoted above; we should be crying for those left behind. (Even before Kobe’s passing; I had mentioned this after I had several losses in my family and it was especially true last week).
I had given an ill-voiced soliloquy to the affect that I noticed the real tragedy in seeing people we knew and loved die. The real tragedy is that we have to step into other roles when we lose people. Our lives change as we live. I once looked up to older gentleman in the church who were in their 30’s and 40’s. They became someone’s grandfather and great uncle. When we lost our grandfather’s; I became “that uncle”. I became a grizzled veteran instead of a wide-eyed teen. I always wanted to be the fresh young man full of wonderment. But I easily became the torn muscled, bags under the eyes man that is employed just about anywhere. Just like men who I knew in the community and its institutions.
(Young men look up to people for guidance. If we like it or not; we become that guidance. Some of us become mentors or the kind of people that you don’t want to become. But it is a common linkage that death puts us into the positions when men in our community leave us.)
I mourn for Kobe’s family and his neighbors. I mourn for his former teammates and his old friends. I mourn for his former parishioners at his local church. Heck, I even mourn for the people that he ran into while out at a store or at a local office. I mourn for the red headed chick on ESPN that interviewed him once. She smiled during and after the interview. But now, she struggles to smile when faced with others crying.
I mourn for the families of the other people that lost their lives. I mourn for the emergency response personnel that have the gruesome job of cleaning up. I mourn for the neighbors trying to make sense of it all. I mourn for their co-workers who are hurting and trying to piece things together.
I wanted to close that I mourn not for Kobe Bryant’s passing. I mourn for those left behind. I mourn for the changing of our lives.
To paraphrase Roy Batty (from Blade Runner), I mourn the moments that will be lost in time and I will mourn the new moments of uncertainty that we will have from anyone’s passing. I mourn not passing; for death is like tears in the rain.