This blog is obviously prompted by the Kobe news but it's more about how to handle someone close to you experiencing a tragedy. I've been insanely lucky to have not lost an immediate family member out of the blue but some of my closest friends and family have lost fathers, brothers, and best friends in tragedies that no one could have seen coming. Obviously for the first couple months they receive a huge outpouring of support from everyone they know. That support never stops but I know personally after a year or so, I have felt very uncomfortable bringing up the person they lost. I've been worried it will trigger waves of grief that they may not be prepared to deal with in the moment. In some cases, this may be true.
But from the vast majority of my experiences I've found that trying to avoid brining up one of their loved ones that has passed almost makes them feel like they should be ashamed of their loss. While it may seem awkward for you, many people who have experienced loss relish the chance to reminisce about the ones they have lost and keep their memory alive. More people than you think are dealing with grief on a daily basis and many find talking about their lost ones more therapeutic than simply trying to suppress any thoughts about them. Obviously if they tell you they'd rather not talk about it you respect that 100%, but don't be afraid to talk about the ones they've lost and the memories you cherished with them 5, 10, 50 years down the line, as they may really appreciate it. The grief never ends, the incredible memories of their life never end either.