It was just another display of his love but it meant everything to Kobe and Vanessa for it symbolized something they would never get to have now.
On February 24, 2020, the heartwarming memorial to honor late basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna and seven other victims who lost their lives in a tragic helicopter crash was held at the Staples Center. During that memorial, a heartbroken and emotional Vanessa Bryant was one of the people who gave a tribute to the husband and daughter she lost.
Though she began by speaking of her lovely daughter, when it was turn to talk about her beloved husband, Kobe, she revealed the gift he got her that really spoke to her in their 19 years of marriage, according to CNN. "He was truly the romantic one in our relationship. I looked forward to Valentine's Day and our anniversaries every year. He planned special anniversary trips and a special traditional gift for every year of our marriage. He even handmade my most treasured gifts. He just thought outside the box and was so thoughtful even while working hard to be the best athlete," she said.
"He gave to me the actual notebook and the blue dress Rachel McAdams wore in The Notebook movie. When I asked him why he chose the blue dress, he said because it was the scene when Allie [Rachel McAdams] comes back to Noah [Ryan Gosling]. We had hoped to grow old together like the movie. We really had an amazing love story."
"We loved each other with our whole beings, two perfectly imperfect people raising a beautiful family and our sweet and amazing girls."
Their love story had begun when they had just been close to stepping out of their teens and though they faced many trials and tribulations, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant had stayed by each other's side. Their hearts and souls belonged to each other and Vanessa knew it was important for others to understand the kind of man her husband was, even if they already knew it. It was in that speech that you could see the grieving widow and mother's absolute love for Kobe. In her speech, she also brought out points that proved the NBA legend felt the same way.
"A couple weeks before they passed Kobe sent me a sweet text and mentioned how he wanted to spend time together, just the two of us, without our kids, because I am his best friend first. We never got the chance to do it. We were busy taking care of our girls and just doing our regular everyday responsibilities. But I'm thankful I have that recent text. It means so much to me. Kobe wanted us to renew our vows." Watching her fight to stem her tears broke the hearts of those who were in attendance and watching the broadcast across the globe.
The designer of The Notebook dress, Karyn Wagner, responded to Vanessa's speech, especially about the gift. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter after watching the live stream, she said she had no idea that the Bryant family had that dress. “I had zero idea. When I was finished with the movie, I put the dress in a box and it went into storage." However, after watching Vanessa, “I started bawling. I’m still drying the tears off my face. What a beautiful eulogy. I’m so honored that I was able to contribute in some small way to the history of this amazing man.
The grief that the Bryant family feels is a tangible one and we can only pray that time heals them enough that they can remember the good times they had together over the pain of losing them.
R.I.P Kobe and Gianna Bryant and the other victims of the crash who died on January 26, 2020.