Vanessa Bryant marked what would’ve been her late husband Kobe Bryant’s 42nd birthday with a heartfelt tribute on Sunday, August 23. Written as a letter to Kobe, the 38-year-old opened up about what she misses most about her love and the struggles their family has seen since he and their daughter Gigi’s tragic passing in January. “To my baby~ Happy birthday,” she began. “I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU!”
“I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi,” the mom-of-four continued in her Instagram caption. “I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh. I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are. I think about your tenderness and patience all the time.”
“I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way,” Vanessa added. “Thank you for growing up with me and teaching me how to be strong. How to try to see the best in people but cutout the bs. Your thoughtful gestures and the amazing way you made us all feel is extremely missed. I picture your smile and wide big welcoming hugs daily.”
Wearing her heart on her sleeve, she wrote: “God I miss you both so much. Our lives feel so empty without you and Gigi. I’ve been completely broken inside. As much as I want to cry, I put a smile on my face to make our daughters days shine a little brighter. I’m not the strong one, they are. They’re strong and resilient. I’m sure you’re proud of them. They put a smile on my face everyday,” she said of their other daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and 14-month-old Capri.
“I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare,” she heart-wrenchingly wrote. “I wish I could surprise our girls and welcome you and Gigi home to us. I’m mad I didn’t go first. I always wanted to go first so that I selfishly didn’t have to feel this heartache. You were supposed to miss me. Gigi was supposed to be here with her sisters. It should’ve been me.”
“There‘s so much I wish I could tell you and show you and Gigi,” she scribed. “So many things you would both be happy to see and be a part of. So many milestones for our girls. So many things you would be proud of. I’m so thankful I have pieces of heaven here on earth to wake up for - thanks to YOU.”
“Thank you for loving me enough to last several lifetimes. In every lifetime I would choose YOU. Thank you for showing me what real love is. Thank YOU for everything. I know my Gigi is celebrating you like she always has on our special days. I miss my thoughtful princess so much! Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri and I wish you a happy birthday my love. I love you for now, forever and for always,” Vanessa concluded.
Kobe and Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on January 26. The horrible accident also took the lives of Payton Chester, 12, Sarah Chester, 46, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Keri Altobelli, 46, John Altobelli, 56, Christina Mauser, 38, and the helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.