Local expert explains why people are grieving over Kobe Bryant

Understand why we feel strong connection to public figures
Posted at 6:32 PM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 21:33:42-05

BAKERSFIELD, CA.  — The world is mourning Kobe Bryant.

"We all grew up, we felt like we knew Kobe, just to watch his journey and then for it to happen like this, for him to leave us like this is tragic," one fan said.

Ana Olvera, with Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, said feeling sadness and a great sense of loss for a public figure like Kobe is normal.

Olvera said he is more than just an iconic basketball player but also connected to memories for people.

"We have spent a lot of time with this person, it gives us a sense of connection and relationship with the person, so hearing the tragic news of his passing can be a shock," Olvera said.

Olvera said the sadness of his passing, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and 7 others on board the helicopter that crashed Sunday morning forces many to think about their own relationship with death.

"When a situation comes like this that is sudden, it may produce more on an intense reaction, i think part of the intense reaction comes from realizing that that might happen to anyone," Olvera said.

Some even triggered by Kobe who dyed doing what he loves most: being a father.

"I think in this situation of him passing along with his child, has made a lot of people has made a lot of parents very emotional," Olvera said.

Olvera said it is important to acknowledge any emotions you have and understand that they are temporary. She urges you to to talk about how you are feeling in order to move on in a healthy way.