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Vanessa Bryant opens up about pushing through 'unimaginable' pain after Kobe's death

Kobe Bryant's widow shared how she doesn't want her three daughters to watch her succumb to grief. "My girls help me smile through the pain. They give me strength."
/ Source: TODAY

Vanessa Bryant has opened up about how she has pushed through the "unimaginable pain" more than a year after the tragic death of husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash.

Bryant, 38, spoke with People for the cover story of the magazine's March 15 issue about having the strength to be there for their three girls and how there are some days where it "hurts too much" to talk about Kobe and Gianna.

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"This pain is unimaginable," she said. "You just have to get up and push forward. Lying in bed crying isn’t going to change the fact that my family will never be the same again.

"But getting out of bed and pushing forward is going to make the day better for my girls and for me. So that’s what I do."

Bryant has drawn resolve from daughters Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and 1-year-old Capri as they try to put their lives back together following the tragic loss that occurred on Jan. 26, 2020, in Calabasas, California.

"My girls help me smile through the pain," she said. "They give me strength."

Ahead of the one-year anniversary of their deaths in January, Bryant reflected on her grief, sharing a message on her Instagram story for those who have lost someone to "find your reason to live." She made it clear her reason is her three daughters.

"Helping my girls navigate through this heartache is important to me," she told People. "Making sure that they know that they are loved, supported, and important is what motivates me."

She admittedly has had her hard days during the past year.

"I can’t say that I’m strong every day," she said. "I can’t say that there aren’t days when I feel like I can’t survive to the next."

Kobe and Gianna had formed a loving bond through basketball, as he coached Gianna's youth team and saw the type of hunger in her that he famously had when entering the NBA as teenager in 1996. The father and daughter were on their way to a basketball tournament at his Mamba Sports Academy when the crash occurred.

Gianna was posthumously honored by the WNBA and the University of Connecticut women's basketball team she had hoped to play for one day. Harbor Day School, where she was a student at the time of her death, also retired her No. 2 basketball jersey.

"I guess the best way to describe it is that Kobe and Gigi motivate me to keep going," Bryant said. "They inspire me to try harder and be better every day. Their love is unconditional, and they motivate me in so many different ways."

The new issue of People hits newsstands Friday.