Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, said, “I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved.”
The basketball great’s wife was of course, stunned, as the rest of the world was, when her husband and daughter recently died in a tragic helicopter crash.
Telling a spouse, child, parent, or friend you love them is important because, as the sudden death of the popular basketball star taught us, you never know what tomorrow will bring.
The part of Gone with the Wind that frustrates me is when Scarlett and Rhett won’t admit they love each other. “Just say it!” I yell at the screen. They never listen and play coy. She suffers alone and is hurt that Rhett doesn’t come to her. Meanwhile, Rhett paces the floor, in obvious pain, thinking that Scarlett won’t call for him. Years go by, cities burn, silver is buried in the backyard, but the two of them won’t admit their love for each other until it’s too late — unless of course, you read the sequel, “Scarlett,” where there’s a whole lot of love finally going on.
As a teenager, I was a bit like Scarlett, being very guarded with my declarations of love. I was fond of a few squeaky voiced boys, but never told them because I just didn’t think the timing was right. Was it love or just a stomach ache? And anyway, if you’re leaving for church camp the next day you should always leave your options open until you know where you stand with the red-headed kid. It was great practice for juggling multiple PTA and Junior League projects.
In college, my husband confessed his love for me, and my neutral response was, “Oh, you’re so sweet.” I thought it was a kind way of sparing his feelings, but he wasn’t pleased. I didn’t want to lead him on and make him think I loved him when I didn’t. Although fascinating, he was . . . different, and I wasn’t accustomed to his blunt, Northern ways. It took a few years of him chasing me around (while others nauseated me), to make me understand that I really was in love with the guy.
When I was finally hit with cupid’s arrow, he couldn’t shut me up. I think there was sappy poetry, long distance phone calls when long distance was a big deal, homemade cookies, and since Hallmark couldn’t get it quite right, handmade cards. Not a day goes by that I don’t tell him now. Believe me, if there’s one thing my husband knows, is that I’m crazy in love with him.
Vanessa Bryant told her family how much they were loved, and now it’s a message that has turned around to comfort her.
The great philosopher and poet from our teen years, Billy Joel, said it best; “Tell her about it, tell her all your crazy dreams, let her know you need her let her know how much she means . . .”
Valentine’s Day may mean chocolate and roses to you, but I hope it’s finally the right time for some of you to take a deep breath and tell them about it. Just spit it out, Scarlett! I know Vanessa Bryant is glad she did.
This story first appeared on AL.com and in the Mobile Press-Register, Birmingham News and the Huntsville Times.