It's Normal, and OK to Mourn the Death of Celebrities, Like Kobe Bryant

Getty/Rob Carr/ Staff

Let me preface this article by making one thing very clear, as people seem to find a way to twist the words of others a lot these days... No single human's life is worth more than another. Everyone, in all walks of life, in all careers, and in all parts of the world matters, and has loved ones who are devastated by their loss. Please keep that in mind as you read my words today, and really anytime a subject like this comes up.

So, most research suggests that about 150,000 people die around the world each day. However, yesterday, January 26th, 2020, there was one death that truly rocked the world, and seemed to stand out. Basketball legend Kobe Bryant was among the nine people killed in a helicopter crash in California.

As soon as news broke, social media, and media as a whole, went wild. There were posts about people mourning and reminiscing, but also posts from people who weren't thrilled that society was honoring Kobe. Some of the reasons I saw, that people were upset were, that the other victims in the accident weren't receiving equal press, some brought up Kobe's past mistakes, and then there were a lot of folks who compared Kobe's death, and the spotlight it garnered, to the loss of others, namely servicemen and women who we've lost.

Personally, as I sat in shock from the news, there were moments after reading these things, that I was made to feel like I would be wrong for being sad. I didn't personally know Kobe, although as a basketball fan I grew up watching him, and admiring his talents. As I sat and thought about the whole situation, I came to the conclusion that I SHOULD be sad, and that is was perfectly acceptable to feel that way.

You see, although we don't know celebrities, like Kobe, personally, we have created connections with them. That's the beauty of sports, and entertainment as a whole. We let these people into our homes via TV, radio, and computers. We spend countless hours cheering them, or cheering against them. We see them in their darkest moments, and we see them in their brightest as well. We are introduced to their families, their interests, and many of them even let us into their hearts. These connections that we make, granted from a distance, are so special that we truly feel like we know, and sometimes even love, these people.

When someone you know or love dies, you mourn... It's simple, and it's appropriate.

So why don't we mourn the people I, and many others, consider true heroes, like men and women in the military who die protecting our freedom, or first responders who put their lives on the line to save yours, in the same way we do athletes and celebrities? The answer is simple, and goes back to my point about connections. We simply don't have a connection with these people unless they are friends or family. It does not mean we don't care, or it's any less tragic, it is simply basic human nature to celebrate people you "know" more so than people you don't.

Should we be better at honoring these heroes I speak of? I believe in many instances, yes, we should. Let's all strive to do a better job of this moving forward! However, we should also feel safe to mourn whoever we please no matter who they are.

This article is not to rip into the people who have posted negative things about Kobe's death, however, I will remind you, that no matter how you personally feel about him, there are people who are heartbroken because of his death, and are justified in feeling that way. My hope is that you can be the kind of person to help your fellow human through a rough time, and not the type that brings them further down.

God bless, and thanks for letting me put my heart into in words.

~Shawn Patrick

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