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I didn't know Kobe Bryant personally, nor did I think of him as an idol. What I did know about him was his dedication to the game of basketball and his family. I knew how great of a friend he was to those close to him and undeniable determination. It was extremely saddening to find out, on my birthday, January 26, it was his last day on this earth. His death was personal to me because he was still young — only 41 years old.

If today was your last day, have you done everything you wanted to? Kobe did. He spent his time living his dream of being a professional basketball player in the NBA, a loving husband and a father. I saw an interview where he explained why his choice of transportation was a helicopter. He explained that it was a faster means to get to his daughters from practices, workouts, games, etc. He was devoted! I think of Kobe and I'm sad, but that same sadness turns into happiness because he lived the life he wanted to.

My heart goes out to the Bryant family. Not only did they lose a father and husband, but they also lost a daughter and sister. Gigi was only 13 years young. Could we say she lived her short life to the fullest? She got to play the male dominant sport of basketball with the support and coaching of her father. She got to engage in an activity she loved. But it saddens me because she was only 13. She won't grow up and live out her dream of being in the WNBA, she won't go to her prom, she won't go to college and be the smartest person in the room, she won't have a father-daughter dance at her wedding — it's a lot of things she won't do.

However, Kobe and Gigi weren't the only victims of that deadly helicopter crash. There were seven other people who were someone's parents, siblings and children. When I think of moments like these, sudden deaths, I want to question God. But in the midst of processing the damage, I had to learn not to. There is a reason for everything. No matter how hard we're hurting right now, we have to find our healing in the middle of mourning and be grateful to see another day.

Tell your loved ones you love them every time you speak with them; don't end moments with them on bad terms. You never know when it's their (or your) last day on this earth. And not knowing, you should want to live your life to the fullest doing what makes you happy. Conquer those difficult tasks, travel and see the world, write that book, learn how to draw, take that pottery class and attend that hip-hop class. Let this year (and your life) be motivated to achieve your passions and goals, but have fun in the process. You never know when your last day is.

Let’s continue to keep the Bryant, Altobelli, Mauser, Zobayan and Chester families in our prayers. Because no matter much you're hurting right now, they're hurting more.