I suppose you could say I was a Lakers fan growing up. I mean, I suppose you can say the same of most of the kids who grew up here I did in the valley. The Clippers weren’t exactly spectacular back in the day so if you liked basketball and you lived in Los Angeles, you watched the Lakers. I grew up with Magic, Kareem, and Worthy. I watched the death matches with the Celtics and Bird and even though I am not now, nor have I ever been a significant basketball fan, I was aware of the team and pride is a thing that makes a city tick and tock better. When I moved to New York in ’91, I couldn’t tell you a thing about the team. They, like a lot of my memories of California, has faded over time to something that isn’t quite made up and isn’t quite a memory.
Now, the only reason I said any of that is to say that I am not writing what I am about to because I am a dyed in the blood of the Lakers Lamb. You hear the name Kobe, yeah, you know who he is. I am also not here to take his life apart piece by piece and talk about the things he did on or off the court. People far smarter and more qualified than I will surely start doing that as soon as they feel it is not too morbid to do so.
No, I am writing this because death and I are friends. We have met many times in this life and when I heard that his daughter was on the helicopter that crashed, there was a part of me that went out to meet that old friend again to catch up and see if there was anything new.
Sadly, there was.
I lost a son. The tragedy of losing a child is not something I am going to try and paint here in a few words. It is pain beyond description. All of those memories came back tome yesterday as I sat here and watched the news reports over and over again. All of the darkest and most wretched parts of the story played themselves out for me again and again and instead of locking them in a little chest and putting them in a closet, I thought of what I am saying now. Kept pain has no purpose for me, it festers and rots me and I can’t do it anymore.
Kiss the people you are with. Hug them close to you and tell them you love them. Make sure you tell your children that you love them, especially if they roll their eyes when you tell them. Make sure they are never in doubt that your love for them is ABSOLUTE. This applies to your friends, your lovers, your pets and your most loosely associated acquaintances.
Life is so short.
It is so brief.
You need to tell the people you need to tell the things you need to tell them so that if your meeting with my old friend is tomorrow, or today, or in three minutes, you will go knowing that there is nothing left unsaid in your heart and your mind.
Originally I was going to write a lot of things about a lot of things, but why? All you need to do I know the simplest and deepest of truths.
Love the people you love.