Vanessa Bryant penned a beautiful tribute on Instagram to commemorate what would’ve been Kobe Bryant’s 42nd birthday.
“To my baby~ Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain,” she wrote on Sunday. “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.”
Vanessa continued, “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 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 every day.”
“I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare. 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,” she wrote of their daughters 17-year-old Natalia, 3-year-old Bianka, and 14-month-old Capri.
Kobe and Gianna both passed away on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, which also led to the deaths of seven other people.
“There's so much I wish I could tell you and show you and Gigi. 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,” Vanessa wrote.
She concluded, “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.”
Natalia Bryant also had a special message for her father: “Happy Birthday Dad,” she wrote. “I miss your smile, laugh, and big bear hugs. Happy Birthday to the best movie buddy I could have ever asked for. I will always remember our late night drives to the movie theater with the windows rolled down and listening to our favorite songs. I love you forever and always. Always, Slim.”
On Saturday, the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation—which offers financial support for young athletes and sports programs—shared a preview of a tribute video, which was made by Nike.