Kobe Bryant’s memory lives on almost a year after his tragic passing.
The late basketball legend’s wife Vanessa Bryant took to social media on Tuesday to celebrate the 18th birthday of her daughter Natalia Bryant, and she did so by sharing never-before-seen photos of the teen with her dad.
Showing her gratitude to Natalia for helping the family through one of the most challenging times in their lives, the mother-of-four wrote wrote in an IG message posted at midnight:
“Dear Natalia, Happy Birthday! Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the young lady that you are. You have displayed so much strength and grace throughout the most difficult year of our lives. Thank you for stepping in to help me with your little sisters. You’re such an incredible big sister and a beautiful role model to so many people.”
“Thank you for being kind, polite and gracious in everything that you do. You have no idea how happy and proud mommy and daddy are that you’re our daughter. We love you always and forever, forever and always. Happy 18th birthday to our first born, Natalia, our principessa! Love always, Mommy, Daddy, Gigi, BB and Koko.”
Alongside the stunning portraits of the b-day girl, Vanessa also shared throwback pics of a very young Natalia with Kobe on the basketball court at the Staples Center. She wrote in the caption:
“Daddy’s little princess, Natalia. We love you so much! Happy birthday Natalia!!!! Our first born @nataliabryant.”
Ch-ch-check out the cute snaps (below).
As you likely know, this is a particularly tough birthday for Natalia, as it’s the first she’s celebrating in the wake of the tragic helicopter accident that took the lives of her father and younger sister, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant.
To make matters more sobering, the anniversary of Kobe and Gigi’s January 26 death is days away. As the family prepares to make it through such a devastating day, Vanessa also took to social media to ask the media to be “tasteful” when posting remembrance footage. She shared:
“We ask that you do not air photos of the wreckage, helicopter in the air or accident scene We do NOT want to see it. Our year has been traumatic enough. You have thousands of photos and videos you can show besides footage of 1/26/20. We hope videos of remembrance are done in a classy and tasteful manner that is respectful of all our losses. Thank you.”
The widow also recently reflected on the grieving process overall, telling her followers on January 15:
“Let me be real. Grief is a messed up cluster of emotions. One day you’re in the moment laughing and the next day you don’t feel like being alive. I want to say this for people struggling with grief and heartbreaking loss. Find your reason to live. I know it’s hard. I look at my daughters and I try to push through that feeling for them. Death is guaranteed but living the rest of the day isn’t. Find your reason.”
Clearly, Vanessa is trying to focus on taking care of her daughters, Natalia, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 1, as she navigates life without Kobe and Gianna. Our hearts continuously go out to the Bryant family.