Vanessa Bryant turned 38 years old on Tuesday — her first birthday since her husband, Kobe Bryant, and daughter, Gianna, both died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. However, she still had a gift waiting from the former Los Angeles Lakers star.
Bryant posted a photo on her Instagram account Tuesday morning that showed a hand holding a yellow envelope. The writing on the front was covered, but she revealed that it had been left for her by Kobe. She found the envelope prior to her big day but wanted to wait for her birthday before opening it. This would provide her with one more special letter on a special day.
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"Yesterday I found an envelope labeled To: The Love of my Life. From, Tu Papi [Heart Emoji] I waited to open one more letter on my birthday. It gave me something to look forward to today. [Heart Emoji] Missing the Love of my Life and my sweet little Mamacita- my fellow Taurus. Grateful to wake up to my 3 sweet girls today. Wish we were all together," Bryant wrote in the caption of her photo.
Bryant did not reveal the contents of the letter, but she was grateful that it existed. The recent days have been difficult considering that what would have been Gianna's 14th birthday was on May 1. Bryant and many of her friends — including LeBron James, Kim Kardashian and Kelly Clarkson, and many others — honored Gianna's memory by wearing red over the weekend.
"Gianna loved to wear a red bow in all of her school pictures," Bryant wrote on Instagram. "Red means love and life. To commemorate Gigi’s birthday today, please consider wearing red, caption an act of kindness or show how you will play Gigi’s way since she always gave everything she did her all and led with kindness. Please use the hashtag #PlayGigisWay. Thank you. 5-1-06 Mambacita."
Additionally, one of Kobe's former teammates, Pau Gasol, sent a cake in honor of Gianna. Gasol and Bryant played for the Lakers together from 2008-2014, winning two NBA titles together in the process. The cake was white and gold and included multiple butterflies. There was also a message on the top that read, "Happy Birthday Gigi." Gasol and his wife, Catherine McDonnell, even included Gianna's nickname of "Mambacita" in the decorations.