In an Instagram post on her private account Sunday, she reminisced about the love they shared and talked about the heartbreak she’s lived with since she lost him and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna in January.
“I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain,” she wrote. “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 think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way.”
She reflected on his patience and tenderness and thanked him for teaching her how to be strong and how to see the best in people. She also described wanting to break down, but putting on a brave face to support their three daughters, Natalia, 17; Bianka, three; and Capri, one.
“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,” she said.
She went on to say how much she wished she could “wake up from this horrible nightmare” and surprise their daughters by bringing him and Gianna home.
“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.”
Finally, she expressed gratitude for having their daughters to wake up for, and thanked her husband for “loving me enough to last several lifetimes.”
“Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri and I wish you a happy birthday my love. I love you for now, forever and for always,” her note concluded.
Kobe, Gianna and seven other people were killed in a helicopter accident in Calabasas, California, on January 26.
Vanessa’s post comes amid a deluge of tributes from the sporting world to the Lakers legend on his birthday.
The Los Angeles Lakers posted a highlight reel of Kobe’s achievements and big moments dedicated to the “Father, Husband, Laker, Oscar Winner, Girl Dad, Author, Black Mamba, Champion, Mentor, Hall of Famer.” Nike also released a tribute video narrated by rapper Kendrick Lamar.
The NBA, WNBA and athletes, including LeBron James, also posted commemorative messages. The Los Angeles Dodgers wore Lakers jerseys pregame that were emblazoned with his name and jersey numbers, 8 and 24. On the pitcher’s mound were the numbers 24 and 2, which was the number Gianna ― who had been a rising basketball star herself ― wore on her own jersey.