Matt Mauser and his children don't want to be remembered as "the sad family that lost their mom" as they prepare to celebrate Christina Mauser's life, one year after she died in the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant and seven others.
Christina Mauser, who was a basketball coach at Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy and mother of three, died at 38 on Jan. 26, 2020, when a helicopter transporting her and seven others, including the Los Angeles Lakers legend and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, crashed in Calabasas, California.
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"I look at grief as like a drunk uncle, you love them, but it's like, you can only take them in so many doses," Mauser told People ahead of Tuesday's anniversary of the tragic crash. "Yeah come over sometimes, but I don't want you to stay too long. You've got to get out of here."
Mauser, who is the frontman for the party band the Tijuana Dogs as well as a Frank Sinatra tribute singer, has organized the "Concert for Christina" on Tuesday in which he and others will pay musical tribute to his late wife. The concert doubles as a fundraiser for the Christina Mauser Foundation, which Matt started to support single moms, women and girls in sports through scholarships and other financial aid.
The concert will also honor the other victims of the crash — Kobe and Gianna, Keri Altobelli, John Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and pilot Ara Zobayan.
Mauser and his children, Penny, Thomas and Ivy, plan to honor Christina with a celebration of her life.
"That's a part of our story, but Christina is our story," he told People. "She is intertwined in our story. But our story has a lot of different chapters and our story has a lot of different parts to it."
Penny will be singing during the concert, which will also feature a guest appearance by singer and actor Frank Stallone, according to a video on Mauser's website.
The Mausers both taught at Harbor Day School in Newport Beach that Bryant's daughters had attended. Matt befriended Bryant while teaching Spanish at the school, and Bryant soon asked Christina to help coach his daughter's basketball team.
Christina served as an assistant coach under Bryant on the travel team that included Bryant's daughter Gianna. They were traveling to a basketball game at Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, when the crash occurred.
Mauser spoke with TODAY in the immediate aftermath of the crash last year in a heartbreaking interview.
"I got three small kids, and I'm trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom,'' Mauser told Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb. "I'm scared. I think more than anything I'm a little scared about the future."
He spoke with People in August about adjusting to life without his wife.
"I find myself having better days," he said. "I've gotten better at just kind of moving through the grief. The kids all have different responses. I've tried to show them that it's okay to be sad and vulnerable. Sometimes we just need to cry these things through."
The songwriter also crafted the emotional song "Lost" as a tribute to his wife of 15 years.
"I play ('Lost') and it just brings up everything all over again,” told American Songwriter. “But I’m glad I wrote it. It directed me to what I needed to do next. It helped me to get to that next phase."