Kobe Bryant's Wife Vanessa Remembers Him in Emotional Birthday Tribute

Sunday was an emotional day for NBA fans due to the knowledge that it would have been Kobe Bryant's 42nd birthday. They sounded off once again after reading Vanessa Bryant's message to her late husband. The post on Instagram was very emotional and provided a stunning look into her struggles since losing her husband and daughter Gianna in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash.

"To my baby~ Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain," Vanessa wrote. "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," she continued. "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."

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Vanessa finished her post by explaining that there "is so much" that she wants to show both Bryant and Gianna. She thanked her husband for loving her enough to last multiple lifetimes and for showing her what "real love is." Vanessa said that she and daughters Natalia, Gianna, Bianka and Capri wish Bryant a happy birthday.

Natalia also posted her own tribute to her father on social media. She said that she misses his smile, laugh and big bear hugs and called him the best "movie buddy." Natalia reflected on their trips to the movie theater and said that she loves Bryant forever and always.