Vanessa Bryant's birthday this year is beyond bittersweet.
Tuesday marked Vanessa's first birthday since her husband, Kobe Bryant, and one of their daughters, Gianna Bryant, died in a tragic helicopter crash in late January. But on a day of both celebration and reflection, she found a letter the late NBA player left before he passed away.
"Yesterday I found an envelope labeled 'To: The Love of my Life. From, Tu Papi,'" the 38-year-old wrote on Instagram, alongside a photo of the letter. "It gave me something to look forward to today."
"The irony is that Kobe had a photo of me drawn with an Angel holding me up by an artist on the cover," Bryant continued. "Missing the Love of my Life and my sweet little Mamacita -- my fellow Taurus."
Vanessa Bryant added that she was "grateful" to be able to celebrate with their three other daughters -- Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 10 months -- but that she wished "we were all together," adding the hashtag "#MyBirthdayWish."
Word of the Jan. 26 helicopter accident -- which also killed several others -- sent shockwaves around the world. Numerous tributes were made during the 2020 Grammys, which aired just hours after news broke, and at the 2020 Oscars just two weeks later.
The Academy Award winner was 41 and Gianna was 13 at the time of their deaths.
Editor's note: This was originally published on May. 05, 2020