Vanessa Bryant pens harrowing letter to Kobe on his birthday: 'It should've been me'

Vanessa Bryant wrote a raw and emotional letter to her late husband on what would have been his 42nd birthday.
Basketball player Kobe Bryant and wife Vanessa
Vanessa Bryant wrote a raw and emotional letter to her late husband Kobe Bryant on what would have been his 42nd birthday, talking about all the ways they'd celebrate and how much his family misses him. Frank Micelotta / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Vanessa Bryant wrote a raw and emotional letter to her late husband Kobe Bryant on what would have been his 42nd birthday, talking about all the ways they'd celebrate and how much his family misses him.

"To my baby~Happy Birthday," Vanessa wrote alongside a photo of the couple dressed up and clasping hands. "I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU!"

The Los Angeles Lakers star and his 13-year-old daughter Gigi died on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash. Vanessa Bryant and her three children are now dealing with a difficult first year of milestones, including celebrating wedding anniversaries and birthdays for the first time without Kobe and Gigi.

"I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi," she said.

Bryant said she is trying to stay strong for the couple's three other children as they deal with the unimaginable loss of their father and sister. She added that the Lakers star would be so proud of his girls.

"I picture your smile and wide big welcoming hugs daily. God I miss you both so much. Our lives feel so empty without you and Gigi. I’ve been completely broken inside," she said. "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."

More than anything Bryant said she wishes they could all "wake up from this horrible nightmare" or that she would have been the person "to go first so that I selfishly didn't have to feel this heartache."

"You were supposed to miss me," she wrote. "Gigi was supposed to be here with her sisters. It should’ve been me."

Bryant said her three girls continue to help her everyday and are more reminders of her beloved husband.

"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," she wrote. "Thank you for showing me what real love is. Thank YOU for everything."

While it won't be the same without Kobe and Gigi, Bryant's family is still celebrating Kobe's special day.

Friends of the couple, including Khloe Kardashian and Bryant's former teammate Pau Gasol, sent flowers and treats to mark Kobe's 42nd birthday.

"Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri and I wish you a happy birthday my love," she ended the letter. "I love you for now, forever and for always."

Read her full letter here:

To my baby ~ Happy birthday. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.❤️#amoreterno 🎂42