I keep telling myself to stop obsessing over what may have happened moments before the helicopter crash that took the lives of Kobe Bryant, his beautiful 13-year-old daughter Gianna and the 7 other passengers on board. While their names and faces may not resonate with us like Kobe and GiGi they too were wonderful parents, siblings, friends, sons and daughters, neighbors, community leaders and the like. I can't stop wondering to myself (and out loud) what happened in the moments before the helicopter crash. Did they know what was happening; were they texting their loved ones, were they comforting each other, or just holding them?
Yesterday I read somewhere online that the helicopter circled for about 11 minutes before it was given clearance to maintain a different trajectory, one perhaps with more visibility. Was that the moment that the passengers knew something was wrong? I hope not...because 11 minutes is a f*****g eternity when you're living your worst nightmare.
When I lost my best friend Joe to a heart attack 4 plus years ago, a friend of mine, Doug, asked the doctor what his final minutes may have been like. It's a dangerous question and one that takes guts to ask. What if the doctor told him that it was a painful struggle? Could we ever come to grips with knowing that our guy suffered in his last few moments?
I think the doctor in this particular instance planned to take the high road with his answer regardless of what he really thought happened to our friend. "Joe was likely unconscious...he didn't feel a thing" he said to Doug. Comforting words to say the least. Doctors have been there before, and what the family doesn't know, most certainly won't hurt them.
The truth is, information eventually may come out regarding the last few minutes before that helicopter went down. Text messages may be read, voicemails might be played, even distress audio from the pilot and passengers.
Why do I think about this? I don't know. Maybe it's because I'm a parent and I struggle with my own ability to protect at all costs. Is there any worse scenario than what may have transpired between parent and child, husband and wife and friends in the final moments leading up to the crash?
This is what my brain did to me all night Sunday, and all day on Monday. Did they have time to one another, were they praying, what were they saying to one another?
I can't get those images out of my head. What would I do? What would I say?
My heart aches for Kobe and Gianna but also for John Altobelli, his wife Kerri and their daughter Alyssa. For Christina Mauser, the assistant coach. And for Sarah and Payton Chester who were mother and daughter, and for trusted pilot Ara Zobayan.
My only hope is that in the moments before this horrific tragedy, there wasn't time for any of the passengers to know what was happening. And the best thing for me to do right now is to stop obsessing over questions that may have answers I'm not equipped to handle.
What I don't know, won't hurt me.