Dear Vanessa Bryant,
You don’t know me and I don’t know you. It’s unlikely we will ever cross paths. Truly, I don’t even know anything about you aside from what I’ve read today in the news. Today though, you’re on my heart as if you were one of my own. As the news unravels and recounts your loss – sweet 13-year-old Gianna, who I hear you called Gigi, and your husband Kobe – I am heartbroken for you the most of anyone. While I have known pain and heartbreak, I honestly cannot fathom the heartbreak you’re experiencing.
I remember how hard it was to be a mother during that first year with each of my children. Finding a new normal and routine, working to find comfort within a body once again changed, and just regaining harmony within the family home as everyone looks to you to lead the charge; all of that is very difficult on its own for many women during that first year. It was for me, and I wonder if you were experiencing that as well with your 7-month-old daughter. All of those changes on their own demand the help of our inner circle if we’re going to transition with the least discomfort. Whether you consider it your village, tribe or sisterhood, having those family and friends to hold you up on the hard days cannot be undervalued. As you live through what I imagine is the worst day of your life, my deep-down wish for you is that support.
Vanessa, I hope you have an unwavering support system.
I hope today that you are surrounded by people who will carry the weight until you are ready to take it on. I hope that you have people who will keep showing up for you, even weeks and months from now. I hope someone takes you into their arms in a deep embrace and keeps holding on longer than usual. I hope you allow yourself the grace of a deep, soul-cleansing cry. I hope that on some level, while nothing anyone does for you now will lessen the pain of the loss you’re experiencing, it shields you from other pains. I hope one day, however long from now, you are able to feel peace again, because I would imagine you feel the exact opposite of that now.
Vanessa, as the whole world reels the loss of a legend I know you must be feeling a much different loss. I think of the love I have for my own husband and I feel sick at the thought of waking up without him, but I know that’s your reality and I am heartbroken for you. It’s easy to see the coming days, weeks, and years will bring immense change. I don’t know about you, but I am not that good with change, worse so when I’m in turmoil. I think of you having to live through all of those hard times and harder feelings and do it while still having to be a mom to your three other children, and it breaks my heart as a sister in motherhood. You probably feel the weight of helping everyone around you to mourn, but I hope you are allowed to mourn also.
I am part of a large boutique clothing community where the mantra is it’s more than just clothes. During my time there I’ve witnessed how true it is for this community as mothers have lived through the loss of their children, and I’ve been allowed to see the fallout. I’ve seen how the community comes together to help with everything from dressing other children for funerals to showing up with meals and sending money and prayers. My deepest hope is that you have that same kind of community. I pray that your circle is even wider than you could have imagined.
Vanessa, I will be thinking of you, even though we’ll never likely meet, and sending you my love from Louisiana – where almost no one has ever met a stranger. I hope that your tribe is holding you through this the way mine would. I’m so sorry for your loss.