The Loss of Kobe Bryant

The Loss of Kobe Bryant

An Outpouring of Love

National tragedies or the death of a public figure such as Kobe Bryant, causes us to stop and mourn. Bryant was an icon in the sports world as well as nationally and internationally. His loss is felt by many across the globe. Such a loss touches even those who did not know him personally. Also, eight others died with Bryant. While not as well known as Bryant, they were shining stars in their own right.

Listening to Kobe’s friends and peers speak about him, I am touched by their desire to honor him even though they have not yet gotten control of their emotions. One of his former coaches in the NBA spoke at a press conference. He was not able to hold his feelings down, and several times during the brief time he spoke, he had to stop and compose himself. That same scene played out numerous times with Kobe’s other close relationships, talking about what Kobe meant to them. It is reflective of the deep love and admiration they had for him. 

Because of their deep feelings for Bryant, many of his peers and friends chose to speak publicly of the loss before they had time to fully process the shock of such a sudden loss or control their emotions.  


In an Instagram post from LeBron James, the day after Bryant’s passing, he wrote: “I’m not ready, but here goes.” In a touching display of his love for Kobe, James was determined to push through his grief and speak about how he would honor his friend Kobe. (Read the full Instagram post here:

Consider for a moment how far-reaching the grief is. All nine aboard that helicopter had family, friends, peers, acquaintances, co-workers that are directly touched by the loss of each individual who died. Their workplaces will no doubt also be feeling the profound loss of their employee’s loved ones. Three young students died in the crash. Their schools will most likely provide counselors on-site to help their fellow students process the loss. However, most workplaces do not offer such assistance. 

It is possible that you, as a manager, could be called on at a moment’s notice to speak about one of your employees who has been touched by a tragedy. In the case of Kobe Bryant, the media was an aid to his friends in speaking about their grief. In general, most companies would not have such support available to them to address their pain. In your company, it could be one of your employees or a member of their family that experiences a tragedy. As with Bryant’s circle of friends, do you think you could pull yourself together enough to communicate about the loss?

your workplace could be impacted

Here are some things that would be valuable to consider and perhaps plan for within your company:

  • Since communication is of the utmost importance during a crisis, acknowledge the tragedy by communicating sensitively and with a personal tone.
  • Consider who would be the person to speak to the public or your company, and what would they say.
  • How should your employees be notified? Via email, company meeting, or department heads of individual teams?
  • What is the relationship with the person in your company?

How severely these events impact your employees, their work effort, and the company is not predictable. Putting a process in place that can aid company managers is your best course of action so that when the need arises, you are ready to respond quickly and effectively.

Are you prepared?

With trauma, it is not a question of whether or not it will hit your company; it is a question of when. My advice as a business coach is to be prepared for when. My newly published workbook entitled "Workplace Trauma Solutions - A Workbook for Managers" guides you step-by-step so that you and your staff are ready to deal with trauma, grief, and loss. Read more at 

I offer professional workplace trauma solutions with a human resources and manager focus from early stages to late stages of trauma, grief, and loss. My process is compassionate and in-depth. After an initial consultation, I prepare a tailored program based on your specific needs. Coaching encompasses one-to-one manager or staff member training or the entire team or company. If you are interested in setting up a training class or Lunch & Learn at your office, contact me at or 551-800-1127.



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Jeffery Veatch talks about living with the painful loss of his son Justin, a talented musician who tragically died of an accidental drug overdose at the age of seventeen and how he and his wife, Marina struggled with surviving.

He describes the unbearable moments he experienced after reaching work early one morning and being told to return home immediately. He doesn’t know how he was able to drive home that fateful morning but goes on to describe pulling up to his home and seeing the coroner’s van in his driveway and viewing his son’s body.

Jeffery talks about Justin’s normal, happy childhood and how his passion and talent for music grew with him into his teen years. When Justin slipped into drug experimentation and addiction, his parents did all they could to support and keep him out of drugs.

Today, he honors his son by taking the love he has for Justin and sharing his story as a way to keep others from the same fate. Through a foundation set up in Justin’s honor, speaking to young adults, and sharing the beautiful music his son wrote and recorded, Jeffery and his family are making a difference in the midst of one of the worst drug crises we have experienced as a nation.

"You have put together such a powerful message in Justin's honor. I am just amazed at how you have been able to do that. I can't even imagine how many lives you touched and saved based on the work you are doing."     Linda Trignano, Podcaster - Workplace Trauma Solutions

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Jeffery produced a film which took two and half years to finish. It’s called “Whispering Spirits”,  named after one of Justin’s songs.  We got a grant to make it available to people anywhere in the country such as teachers and other groups that could hold a film screening and then have a discussion afterward about the situations surrounding drug use and loss. Jeffery said the file has become a tool that he and his family are very proud of. We offer the film free of charge because we didn’t want to ever make any money off it. Anyone who goes to the website cannot only watch the film but if they’re going to show it in a community format, they can get a copy of it free of charge, and there’s a discussion guide goes with it.

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Her Mom Died. What Should I Do and Say?

Her Mom Died. What Should I Do and Say?

Recently I learned that a dear friend’s mother passed away.  As I collected myself, I had many thoughts and feelings, which included sadness and concern for my grieving friend. I thought I would list a few questions that most of us ask ourselves when hearing about a loss. Perhaps it will give you some guidance and help you to take steps yourself to comfort someone grieving a loss.

“Should I call?”  “Is now the right time?” Since my friend’s mom lived across the country, I had no idea if my friend was alone, busy with the details of the wake and funeral, helping her dad or any other tasks that needed her attention. I decided to trust my heart and reach out to her right then. I was only able to leave a , but I felt better knowing that she knew I was thinking about her. A return message from her told me that she felt better knowing that so many of her friends were letting her know that they were thinking of her with loving support.

What should I say?

“What should I say?” “Will I make things worse?” For me, there is often that moment of doubt when first reaching out to someone who has just suffered a loss. What if I don’t know what to say and end up saying nothing? Somehow the right words might come or perhaps saying nothing and being present with them in the moment might be what the grieving person needs. Trusting yourself is the right path to choose. In times of grief, we want to know that others are supporting us whether it is in thoughts, prayers, words or action.  Even the strongest person needs comfort and support during difficult times.

After the call, then what?

One way to handle this question is to ask them what you can do to help them. Avoid saying “Call me if you need me.” Sometimes the best thing to do might be bring dinner and spending time with them. Sometimes make yourself available for a phone conversation and listen to them talk would be the best choice. If they are not up to talking, send a card with a note to let them know that you are thinking about them.

Even if you are uncomfortable (and many people are), it is better to extend yourself and reach out to someone experiencing grief or loss.

Coach Linda

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