Dwight Howard has been spending his time in quarantine dealing with personal tragedy. The NBA player shared that Melissa Rios, the mother of his six-year-old son, died suddenly of an epileptic seizure less than two months ago. She was only 31 years old.
"I've had some things happen in my personal life that has been difficult to really handle," Howard said on a video conference call with reporters on Friday (via ESPN). "My son's mom, she had passed away a month and a half ago and it's extremely difficult for me to try to understand how to talk to my son, who's 6 years old, just about the whole situation."
Howard shared that, despite shelter-in-place orders, he and his son attended Rios' funeral in Reno, Nevada. "There was no way I could not be there for my son, and even for her family," Howard said. "I definitely would've felt like that would've been bad. She deserves and he would deserve better if I didn't do that that."
For multiple reasons, it's been an especially tough year for the NBA forward.
“I don’t know how I’ve been able to deal with it,” Howard said. “It’s just like one event after another. The Kobe situation [Bryant’s death on Jan. 26], still trying to get over, just grieve over that. Even though me and Kobe wasn’t as close as me and my son’s mom were, but just trying to grieve over that, and then the corona situation, and then all of a sudden my son’s mom died. I’ve really just been trying to keep myself busy.”
If anything, he says, the tragedies have taught him a valuable lesson.
"Every moment counts," Howard said. "Be grateful for every situation that you have, just be grateful for life. I think we also take for granted the little things and just spending time with people and stuff like that. And you know after having all these situations, it's like, reconfirming to me just stay in the moment. Always be grateful. Always be grateful for everything you have, every little thing that happens."
As for quarantine orders and the effective cancelation of the NBA season, Howard says it's been a mixed blessing. "It's bittersweet because I do want to play basketball, but my son right now needs me more than anything," he said.
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