Two weeks after her emotional yet elegant speech at the memorial service for her husband and daughter, Vanessa Bryant shared a photo of her family standing in front of a mural of their father and sister. It’s one of many works of street art that have popped up in the weeks since the helicopter crash that killed Kobe, 13-year-old Gianna, and seven others.
Natalia Diamante, 17, and Bianka Bella, 3, stand next to their mom holding Cari Kobe, who will turn two in June. Vanessa included the lyrics to “Smile,” a song made famous by Nat King Cole, and an appropriate choice considering that everyone in the photo is smiling despite their grief.
In a separately posted photo of just Natalia in front of the same mural, Vanessa included #winterformal in her caption, suggesting that she was on her way to a high school dance. It’s the kind of normal teenager thing to do that suggests that she and her family are on the road to some kind of normal, an encouraging sign given what they’ve been through.
The mural itself is based on a well-known photo of the pair sitting courtside at a Hawks-Lakers game last November. But instead of the stands at the Staples Center, they’re shown in front of a blue sky with clouds, a halo hovering over Gianna’s head.
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Smile: by Nat King Cole Smile though your heart is aching Smile even though it's breaking When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by If you smile through your fear and sorrow Smile and maybe tomorrow You'll see the sun come shining through for you Light up your face with gladness Hide every trace of sadness Although a tear may be ever so near That's the time you must keep on trying Smile, what's the use of crying? You'll find that life is still worthwhile If you just smile That's the time you must keep on trying Smile, what's the use of crying? You'll find that life is still worthwhile If you just smile
The replies to the post are positive and supportive, a steady stream of hearts, prayer hands emojis, and words of encouragement from some of Vanessa’s 13.5 million followers.