The English author, John Donne wrote this on death. Any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."
Last Sunday Kobe Bryant died in a tragic helicopter crash. It was tragic for so many reasons. He had been a basketball legend who entered the NBA when he was just 17 and , is still in the top four basketball scorers of all time. From all accounts he was a nice man who did many good works. He was an icon for the African American community. He died when he was just 41 and had much still to contribute to the world. It was a sad occasion.
Kobe's death seemed to affect so many people. Talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres was in tears as she talked of us his death. Citizens in Los Angeles, where Kobe played basketball, were distraught as were fans across the world. Television crews from all the major networks interrupted their broadcasts to tell of Kobe's death and the death of his daughter. Some did note that others died in the copter crash, but the other people who died seemed to be but a mere after thought.
A couple of nights ago, I watched a Netflix documentary on Princess Diana. It talked of her rise from being an obscure kindergarten teacher, to becoming a princess, and then to becoming the most hunted woman in the world. The documentary closed with her funeral. It showed how thousands if not millions of people were affected by her death. All of them felt in someway connected with this woman that they never met.
Death. It is one of the few things that links all living creatures on the world. Now it seems obvious that we are deeply affected by the death of those closest to us. The death of a parent, a child, a spouse, a friend does have a lasting impact on us. But for the most part we seem not as bothered by the death of a stranger down the street as long as they didn't die from anything contagious. Hundreds of people died in Paris the same day as Princess Diana died. Hundreds of people died in Los Angeles the same day that Kobe Bryant and his daughter died. But because Diana and the Bryants were famous, we remember their deaths and are affected by them.
But each death does affect me. The others who died on that day may not have grabbed the headlines but our world is lessened because they are no longer here. They all had something to contribute to their community. The death of a famous person at a young age, reminds us that death is part of our lives. If someone with all of their fame can die, then so can we. The death of the hundreds of others who died on that day won't grab the headlines, but they too remind us life is a gift that is far too short. Blessings.
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