The ocean was Jimmy’s first love and his life was a love story about chasing after that elusive wave that captured his heart and soul. This moment in time and space was captured in his beloved Puerto Escondido. Emerald waves, a sure line across the endless sea and a man at home on that thin line. He was graceful, determined, and smart enough to be fearless when he could. He loved deeply and was loved as a son, brother, friend, teacher, mentor, lover, traveler, writer, and truest waterman.

There is something about sudden death, especially when we grieve for a young child or someone in the “prime” of life. A common question we hear is “how old was he?” Is it easier when someone dies at the “end of their years? Helen Keller said, “ What we once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose. For all that we love deeply become a part of us.” Jimmy and Kobe were deeply loved and will live on through their foundations, designed to help others through their beloved sports and personal philosophies.

“Sometimes, when one person is absent, the whole world seems depopulated. “*

Kobe was a hero for Jimmy and Jeff’s generation. He pursued excellence through his passion for his sport, his team, his family and fans. His death affected thousands, but his good works will live on, through the Mamba Sports Foundation and through every child who wears a #24. As a parent, he was a #girldad and one of the best and most visible symbols of what it means to be a father in 2020. Other generations had warriors, presidents and astronauts. Their generation had Kobe. Basketball was Kobe’s first love and the art of the game captured his heart and soul. His life was a testament to hard work, perseverance and unparalleled talent. We watched him grow from the most talented teen to the man he would become. A city welcomed him as a son and the world took notice of his spirit, talent and intelligence.

There is something about sudden death, especially when we grieve for a young child or someone in the “prime” of life. A common question we hear is “how old was he?” Is it easier when someone dies at the “end of their years? Helen Keller said, “ What we once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose. For all that we love deeply become a part of us.” Jimmy and Kobe were deeply loved and will live on through their foundations, designed to help others through their beloved sports and personal philosophies.With the horrendous news about Kobe, his daughter and their family and friends, it seemed right to look at sudden death, honor his memory and offer the only positives I can share. The pain will never be as bad as it was when we learned of the passing of that remarkable man. It will never be as painful as planning the memorial or greeting loved ones who are often left without words of comfort. I would not have believed those words nearly 16 years ago, but it is true. In the wake of a sudden death, “normal “ ceases to exist. We weren’t ready to say good-bye. But healing will come in time. We can do it together. What we have accomplished through the work of the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation is a shining testament to the gift of healing.

February is a month for sharing love. Be sure to say, “I love you” to those in your life today. Forgive often and love with all your heart. You may never know when you won’t have that chance again.

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