What I Learned From The Kobe Bryant Memorial Service

The memorial service for Kobe Bryant was yesterday and it caught me off-guard about how emotional I was while watching the service. As a newly married man, someone who has talked to their wife more and more recently about having children very soon, Vanessa Bryant’s eulogy to her husband and daughter caused me to break down. The courage that she displayed yesterday was mind blowing, to stand up there on that stage with the World watching you, waiting for your reaction and words and you give one of the most heartfelt and deserving eulogies to two people that I have ever heard. It is an unthinkable moment, to have to eulogize your husband and child but the reality of the situation is that it happens, it’s the glaring example of the fragility of life. After watching Kobe’s wife, friends and former teammates talk about him and the impact he made on their lives, it really got me thinking and what I felt I should take away from this tragic event.

Obviously, the most important person in my life is my wife, she has changed me in so many ways, I am still improving everyday but without her, I don’t know where I would be or what I would be doing. Seeing Vanessa Bryant speak about her late husband and knowing how many of the intricacies she spoke about compare to the relationship my wife and I have, and I am sure most every married couple has these same experiences. Those small, easily ignorable intricacies of relationships are the things we take for granted but they should be what we cherish every day.

The tragedy went beyond the relationship I have with my wife, it got me thinking about my family, my friends and you don’t ever know when the last time you will see the people you love. That is one of the cruelest jokes in life, we see people every day, we talk to them often and in the blink of an eye, without a chance to say goodbye, they are gone, forever and you never got a chance to give them the goodbye that they deserved or that you wanted to give them.

I have about seven buddies who I consider brothers, who I would do anything for, and I have made it a point to stay in touch with them as often as possible. We all live in different places now and since then, I have made it a point to reach out as often as possible. Admittedly, I am probably really annoying to these guys at times, I realize we all are busy, have relationships, have jobs but I feel that if I never see them again, then they will know how much they meant to me, how much I loved them and that they have been my brothers for longer than they have been my friends. I am always trying to plan trips, vacations or times for us to just call each other on the phone and say what’s up, they might say that I am annoying or I plan too much but in reality, it’s me, trying to cherish our friendship before we wake up one day and we regret that we didn’t answer that text, call someone back, bail on a vacation – because we can’t get those moments back.

Unfortunately, I have had to face some real hardships in my life, with my physical health, my mental health and battling illness to the point to where you don’t know if you are going to make it. The silver lining in those experiences have been they I take one thing in my life seriously, the relationships I have with my wife, friends and family, the rest is all fixable and, in my opinion, shouldn’t be taken too seriously. We are all human, we have all made mistakes, we all want to get better and improve ourselves and we all deserve that opportunity, so if you have a grudge with someone, let it go, there is seriously no point in holding onto things that will ruin relationships, cause you anxiety and bring pain into your life.

All of these feelings that I just outlined came flooding back to me yesterday as I saw a wife, missing her daughter and husband, a friend recalling the text messages they sent back and forth, a teammate regretting their feuds but celebrating their successes together. We tend to look back on things or people and say that we should have done more, we should have said I love you, should have spent more time together, well here is your chance. If you have read to this point, I urge you to pick up your phone, call or text the people you love, set up time to meet up with each other and cherish how precious life is, how quickly it can be taken away from us and try your best to enjoy life, appreciate the moment and love as much as you can. You never know how much it will positively affect someone.