The Hard Part About Loving

I’m not sure if this is a college thing or an age thing or a time thing, but since coming to college, death seems to occur around me in profoundly impactful ways. 

Within the world of celebrities, people tend to put them on a pedestal especially when they have impacted a person’s life positively. There’s millions of children who have idols and athletes that they look up to and try to model themselves after-- and the same goes for musicians and actors and actresses. 

For example, Kobe Bryant was not only a phenomenal basketball player but also a family man and someone who loved to help others achieve their goals and dreams. People knew his name from across the world, and there are thousands of stories on how his hands touched the lives of strangers. When he passed, it made me-- like many others-- put my life into perspective. 

In addition to public figures, this is the point in my life at which I’ve experienced some other passings; a family member, and students at Georgia Tech. 

My mom’s aunt was such a sweet lady and she loved spending time with family. She was a pastor and had the chance to connect with so many people personally, her goal was to positively impact anyone that came across her path. But a year before she died, she was diagnosed with an illness and because of her old age it was something she wouldn’t completely recover from. It felt as if we had our time to say goodbye and spend some time with her before she passed away. 

When I found that a tech student had died, I thought, “Someone who walked the same campus as I has passed away and I probably didn’t even know them.” However, later I found out the news that it was a student I came across almost every day. I’ve seen him in the gym, in the dining halls, in class, and just walking around campus. I became even sadder because I knew that his family and friends were hurting from his death and they didn’t even get to say goodbye. 

That same sort of aching pain came with Kobe and his daughter and the others that lost their lives in that helicopter crash. It was supposed to be a routine trip. They were supposed to make it to their destination safely, but they did not. All of those families were hit with an unimaginable pain and loss, and it happened so suddenly. When I learned of their deaths, so many people texted me and I saw it everywhere; on social media, ABC news, ESPN and numerous other platforms. The people who loved him were hurt-- it felt like a lot of the world was hurt. 

In the days after, I just kept thinking about how none of those families got to say goodbye to their loved ones. Their lives were cut short and so much potential went unreached. His death, just like so many others, taught me not only to strive for greatness but to be the best me I could be. 

Embrace the challenges brought to us throughout life and don’t take anything or anyone for granted because family and friends and building bonds are so important. We should cherish our times with these people and hold on to the ones we love because we don’t always get the chance to say goodbye.