It’s the kind of grief that comes without an expiration date, but Vanessa Bryant knows that what she’s feeling is “normal.”
Two weeks after the tragic death of husband Kobe and daughter Gianna in a helicopter accident that claimed the lives of seven others, Bryant shared that acceptance has been the most difficult, even as she admitted that she’s “been reluctant to put my feelings into words.”
In a heartfelt Instagram message, accompanied by a video clip of the 13-year-old and her teammates on a basketball court as NBA great Kobe cheerfully plays coach, Bryant writes:
My brain refuses to accept that both Kobe and Gigi are gone. I can’t process both at the same time. It’s like I’m trying to process Kobe being gone but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me. It feels wrong. Why should I be able to wake up another day when my baby girl isn’t being able to have that opportunity?!
I’m so mad. She had so much life to live. Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my 3 daughters. Mad I’m not with Kobe and Gigi but thankful I’m here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri. I know what I’m feeling is normal. It’s part of the grieving process.
As she wrestles with unimaginable loss—“God I wish they were here and this nightmare would be over,” Bryant lamented—the 37-year-old also took the time to offer prayer and words of support for those who may be dealing with tragedies of their own, adding, “I just wanted to share in case there’s anyone out there that’s experienced a loss like this.”
A public memorial, hosted by the city of Los Angeles, is planned for Kobe Bryant at the Staples Center on February 24. The date has special meaning as the fallen Laker wore No. 24, while his daughter, known affectionately as GiGi and a rising hoops star in her own right, donned No. 2.