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Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, and little Capri,

I want to begin by saying that you are all being prayed for by so many people. People who admired and loved your husband and father. But no one loves him like you.

And how can I even begin to address your loss of precious Gianna? There may be no words I can offer to bring comfort, but I will do my best to encourage you nevertheless. Truth is I know you just need time and space to heal.

The news outlets disgusted me this afternoon, asking for commentary from friends and family and giving no room for the natural progression of grief. It was rude at best. The world doesn’t need a microscope into your life. You deserve respect and privacy.

I want to apologize on behalf of all who are being insensitive to your needs. You deserve better.

I lost my mother recently, and while the circumstances were quite different, I have realized that this world does not allow us to grieve properly. I pray you have the support of friends and family who will shelter you from intrusion into your life during this difficult time.

Mostly, I pray for comfort for you.

There is a peace that only God can bring, but to get there it sometimes doesn’t feel peaceful at first. It can feel like you yourself are dying. It feels like your emotions are dammed up and can only come out by crying profusely after you scream.

Go ahead and scream.

I tried not to and it only got worse.

I tried to be “strong” and “move on” way too quickly. I caved to the expectations of how the world said I should grieve. And it almost made me lose my mind. I wasn’t sleeping. I was ignoring my pain. I made myself busy, busy, busy.

Worst of all, I stopped praying. I love the Lord so much, but I was angry and I subconsciously started to refuse to speak to Him. Please don’t do that.

Anyone who has lost someone… please don’t do that. I beg you.

Even if all you do is say “Good morning. Thank You.” Just keep talking to God. He hears you. You don’t need the right words. He already knows your pain. Despite the agony, God still has great plans for your family.

Vanessa, when Kobe announced his upcoming retirement a few years ago, you said, “I’m so excited to see what God has in store for us as a family now that one chapter is closing and new ones are opening.” I’m sure this is not what you expected.

But I’m here to tell you that there are still amazing things in store for you and your family. It might be a while before you feel excited about anything. Take as long as you need. But your excitement for life and this next chapter will come.

This is my prayer for you; for everyone who is experiencing devastating loss, myself included:

Lord, bring us through.

Slowly and surely, remind us that You are still with us and will never leave us. Pour out Your peace. Pour out comfort, Holy Spirit. Beckon us to talk with You when the agony tries to distract us. Cut through the pain and show Yourself faithful, like we know You are.

You are good, Lord. No matter what, we will keep seeking You. Thank You for who You are. Thank You for making a way, giving Your own Son so that we can be with You and our loved ones for eternity. Remind us of this truth.

Give us fresh vision when the smoke clears, and guide us until it does. Amen.

To all who are suffering and mourning, I am keeping you in prayer. Please do so for me as well.

Your sister,

Monica