A Son’s Letter to Vanessa Bryant

To Vanessa,

I chose to write this and wait on it for two weeks because people, while not realizing it, and after the initial shock of an event so tragic, go back to their lives. In reality, it’s not their fault in and of itself. While they’ll still check in on you for the most part, those “how are you doing’s?”, “Are you ok?”, and “Thinking about you”, will slowly fade with time

It’s going to hurt, because for you, GiGi and Kobe will be on your mind every day for the rest of your life. You’ll start questioning that day. “Why didn’t I make them late?” or “Why did this happen?” You may even curse get angry with yourself. Don’t do that. You can’t look back and dwell on that moment, because it will haunt you. I know first-hand because I spent 3-4 years doing that myself, with my brother.

At this time, you’re probably still reading articles and looking back on all the support for Gigi, Kobe and everyone else who tragically lost their lives that day. Most people won’t understand the pain you’re experiencing, and that Vanessa, is what I am most apologetic for. Now you must go through life without your best friend and little girl.

I can only describe the initial shock of losing the most important people in your life as being force-fed your own vomit and then it coming back out worse than it came in. It’s a feeling that will stay with you forever. It will strike you at random points in your life: weeks, months and years later.

You hear so much about how things will get better with time. About how you will start healing soon. About how they wouldn’t want you to suffer and dwell on losing them which is all them just trying to be positive. What people don’t tell you about though, is the constant feelings of negativity, depression, tiredness, tears and anger that come from trying to get through this loss. This road is going to tear you apart but will build you back up if you let it.

Right now, being with those you love during this time is one of the most comforting feelings. Having them there with you just feels better because it takes away from the pain of being in your own head and thinking about this tragedy over and over again.

But after a while, your family, friends and those showing you support the world over have to go back to their lives. While they’ll still check on you, they eventually go back to their daily routines. You’ll see them smiling, laughing. You’ll see them posting memes and funny stories, all the while, deep down you’re still crushed. What is heart-breaking is that no matter how hard you try to be happy and smile, a piece of you is gone forever. You will NEVER be the person you were the day before your entire life changed.

So please, take time to mourn for Vanessa Bryant before this tragedy. Mourning is such an important step that many people miss. Please don’t skip this step. Mourning allows you to start healing in ways you can’t imagine. If you don’t heal… If you don’t fight to be yourself daily… If you don’t struggle to begin again… YOU WILL LOSE YOURSELF.

Please don’t try and go back to the person you were before January 26, 2020 since the moment you received such terrible news, you became a different person in literally the blink of an eye

When I think about everything you’re going to experience, it truly pains me. I struggle to hold back tears. Don’t refrain from talking about your husband and daughter. Let your girls know you’re struggling and that you’ll need their help. You don’t have to be their rock. The fact of the matter is that your rock has been shattered. Now you have to look for a new rock within yourself and focus on who you will become as you embark on this new, uninvited journey.

You see, you have to take this road because you don’t have another choice. I feel for you because this pain never truly goes away…

But if you find yourself smiling and enjoying something, write that down. You’ll be able to reflect on it later and it will assuredly help you heal. The desert you found yourself stranded in will have turned into an oasis because of how hard you worked to grasp and maintain it

Keep a journal and write in it every day so you can see this journey and reflect on it. There’s nothing wrong with being vulnerable during this time. Let everything out. Scream…shout…curse the heavens. It will help you heal

This is not meant to be a negative, self-pity letter. Rather, look at it as a guide. Many people will have their own thoughts and opinions on how to get through difficult times like this and I hope you can take a piece of each one and find out what works best for you.

Let no one tell you how long you should grieve as some people take years. Go at your own pace of healing.

We all will be thinking of you and of all the people who lost their worlds that day.

You may see this, you may not. I truly hope you find your way to healing… You and anyone else who finds this letter.

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