In the late 80’s and early 90’s, I was obsessed with Michael Hutchence, lead singer of the band INXS. He would have been 60 just a few days ago (yep, I remember his birthday), but he committed suicide at 37, having lived a decade longer than Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain, thereby denying himself admittance into the 27 Club.

When he died in 1997, just a few months after my brother had taken his own life, old friends reached out to me. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know him, he and his music were a significant part of my teen years, and his death impacted me.

Some people thought that was silly. My husband did, but we were still newlyweds then so I’ve forgiven him.

The point is: I was sad, and when I look at the pain etched in the faces of people grieving Kobe Bryant’s tragic death, I get it. It doesn’t matter if they knew him. He was an icon. He inspired them. They loved him. They’re heartbroken.

So I truly don’t understand why people get twisted up and post dumb shit like, “What about the veterans who commit suicide every day? Why aren’t we grieving for them?” In my opinion, that’s as bad as those kooks from the Westboro Baptist Church picketing funerals with their hate-fueled agenda.

If you believe in a God or universe or some other source of life and love and goodness and don’t believe in the abundance of love, then I humbly invite you to revisit what you call “God.”

We are capable of great love and great joy

We are also capable of tremendous sadness and heartbreak.

My heart can (and does) fill with love for my husband, my children, my dogs, my friends, and random animals and babies on the internet.

My heart can (and does) break for people who are lonely, depressed, grieving, and dying. It breaks for anyone who has lost someone they love and for people whose pain was too great that they could not go on living. It doesn’t matter who they are or how they died.

The world can feel polarizing. Black or white. Republican or Democrat. Pro-this and Anti-that. It feels as if there’s not enough room for everyone at the table. Sometimes it feels as if we have to jump into THIS boat or THAT boat or we’ll drown. I refuse to believe that.

Life is not a competition. Life can be less either/or and more both/and. We can be more inclusive. We can be happy for ALL the happy things. We can be sad for ALL the sad things. We can be here for it all. And if not, then why are we even here?

dreamer•mystic•seeker• author, Post-Its and Polaroids•

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