The Power of Presence


A nation is mourning a hero. As someone who loves sports and watched Kobe for years, I have to say this is one of the first athletes that we’ve lost that really affected me. Most athletes that have passed were older, with full lives. Not someone so young. Not Kobe.

To hear his daughter, Gigi, passed as well, wrecked me. To know Kobe’s wife, Vanessa, and children Natalia, Bianka, and Capri have to figure out life without a husband/father is heart-breaking.

My family recently experienced the loss of our 5-month old angel Elyse and we are still reeling. Since October 5th, that terrible day, I’ve learned a lot about mourning and now, seeing a nation mourn today has brought a new context to it.
The people who lined up at Elyse’s viewing and funeral felt compelled to give me words of comfort. Speaking for my brother and sister-in-law, I can tell you that there are no words that comfort, at least not now.

Not knowing what to say is awkward. Feeling awkward leads to retreating to alleviate anxiety. But most people undervalue their presence. Just their bones and flesh in the same room. Saying nothing. Just being. Just present.

We need people in times of mourning, but we don’t always need words. As we mourn together today, be mindful. Draw close to those who are mourning. Be aware of personal space they need. Yet, don’t seek excused to retreat. Don’t fight to find words to say.

We are not alone and we should never feel we are. We need each other. We need presence. Even if we don’t have the words.

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