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Why You Felt Deep Grief after Kobe Bryant’s Death

On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant’s death brought grief into the spotlight.

People around the world were (and still are) profoundly affected by his death.

Kobe Bryant, Celebrity Death

But why?  They didn’t even know him.  Or did they?

As a society, we’ve always been captivated by celebrity status.  And with the explosion in popularity of social media, the captivation we have with celebrities turns from small scale to large scale. We follow celebrities on Instagram, consuming every post “they” put out.  We watch endless hours of video – and repeat. We tune it and listen to other people talk about them and over time we know and understand characteristics about them that we relate to.

It’s no wonder Kobe felt like a member of the family.  And the grief from his death loss is being processed by many and will continue to be as such.

But, there are other reasons.  Maybe you’re not the celebrity type and you don’t even follow anyone on social media. But yet, Kobe’s passing affected you deeply.

It could be the “what if” feeling.

What if it had been a clear day, what if his daughter didn’t have a basketball game that day?  It’s difficult to process. Diving into the “what if” scenario can intensify everything you feel.  You may feel anger, frustration, confusion, and even regret to an extent.

Ultimately, Kobe Bryant’s death, as the case is with any celebrity that passes, is a front page and often times terrifying reminder of our own mortality. For us, it’s a sad reminder of our person.

On social media, in text messages and emails everywhere in the aftermath of Bryant’s death were the reminders to “remember that life is short” or to “tell someone that you love them right now, don’t wait”.

Kobe Bryant’s death is an important reminder that there is no “right way” to grieve.  There are no rules.  You feel what you feel, you process things that way that you do – because grief is a unique journey for every person.

Just remember – it’s okay to not be okay.  No matter what anyone says.


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