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General Parenting & Family

talking death and helicopters in the carpool line

The conversations with my kids while driving them home from school have been laced with uncertainty over the last couple of days.

My 10 year old daughter Lily has become entrenched in knowing every detail of Kobe Bryant and his daughter’s sudden and surprising death. (And the others riding with them.)

As she jumps into the back seat of my SUV and sits her backpack beside her, she gives me the latest update: “Mom, did you know Kobe’s daughter was only 13 years old and she was going to carry on her father’s basketball legacy?”

Data point after data point falls from Lily’s lips as she is fed information from the smartphone cradled in her hand.

Lily’s a researcher and wants to know the details of the news that has rocked her world. A girl who never watches basketball and who has never once wanted to look up a helicopter’s flight plan before now.

This is human nature – to want to know why and the details that led to the tragedy.

Lily’s also talking about the coronavirus in China and how millions of people are being quarantined. Pretty intense stuff for a girl who’s trying to learn obtuse angles from acute angels in math class at school.

The thing is all of her friends are talking about these things too.

New Conversations in the Carpool Line

There are a million and one topics that are being hand delivered to me as opportunities of discussion with my kids as I meander through stop lights, roundabouts and stops signs.

Death, a parent’s biggest fear of losing a child, the deep bond of love, grief and how it unifies people regardless of their beliefs, helicopter safety and how most don’t crash, being okay with a delayed fight because of weather, instant access to information, trusting the source where the information is coming from…  countless topics.

And while all of these topics have been discussed while we sit comfortably in my SUV, there is one topic I’ve decided I really want to focus on.

Fear.

Fear Can Only Get Away With What We Let it Get Away With

Beneath the words that are so sweetly spoken from Lily’s voice is fear. She wants to know why because she is scared.

The question “why did this happen” comes up a lot as clients sit on the blue coach in my office questioning the pain they are enduring from a situation or experience in their life.

Maybe if they know why the discomfort or pain will go away. Maybe if they know why they won’t have to be scared of it happening again because maybe they can prevent it.

I know I’ve asked the question myself countless times.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

As we weave the tapestry of our lives, each one of us stitching our unique thread with the daily decisions we make, we tend to forget the bigger picture. We lose focus on the bigger reason we are here and the glorious nature of our humanity.

We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

This life you chose to live is rich with emotion and fed by the senses. And while fear is one of those emotions, it is not the baseline. We didn’t come here to live in fear. We came here to learn how to overcome it. 

One of my teacher’s just said today “fear is like a virus” and I believe it. It spreads quickly and is unapologetic with who it infects.

While I do believe we need time to process grief and to allow the gravity of a situation to really rest in our bones, we must be careful to not let fear wedge it’s way into how we live our lives.

Because we don’t know why. We don’t know why the fires raged in Australia. We don’t know why the earthquakes hit Puerto Rico or the Philippines. We don’t know why Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crashed. We don’t know why we tragically lost a young girl in our Southlake community just weeks ago.

What I do know is that the people directly affected by these events and me and my family, who were indirectly affected by these events, are closer now. The conversations with my children and even strangers have deepened. We’ve felt grief and love for people who are nameless. We’ve hugged each other a little more often. We’ve shared kinder words, donated money, dropped off meals.

How We Rise

Look at what and how these experiences have caused us to rise. New discoveries about ancient people in Australia have recently been discovered. New technologies for aircraft will undoubtedly be discovered after this crash. People may be less likely to be upset when their flight is delayed for weather. Rebuilding of the devastated countries will begin. And through it all we will touch each other in ways we would have never been called to.

These are all gifts and acts of love that fear can not touch if we do not let fear rest in us. 

So why – – we will never know the why.  We can know what we will do next, how we will be, and where we will decide to go from here. When we choose the what, the how and the where then we can choose the why. We can choose to make decisions from a place of love. We can let love be our why.

We are resilient. We were made for this. And to quote the dearly departed Ram Dass, “We are all just here walking each other home.”

This week I want to challenge you to deepen your conversations. In the carpool line, in the elevator, in the grocery store. Flip the script and decide how, what and when because you know the why.

With lots of love,

Danielle

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